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Learn how one community promoted safe disposal of unused medication by driving local participation in Take Back Day. 

Above: Photos from ESD 105’s Take Back Day event.

In October 2023, ESD 105 and Cascade Prevention Coalition, serving the Cle Elum/Roslyn community, organized a Take Back Day event at their local police department. National Drug Prescription Take Back Day, hosted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is held twice a year and encourages the public to remove unneeded medications from their homes to prevent medication misuse. Communities across the nation participate in this effort, providing safe and convenient sites for people to dispose of medications.

ESD 105 and Cascade Prevention Coalition used a combination of strategies to get the word out and encourage community participation in their local event. These strategies included:

They used the Starts with One Safe Disposal Campaign toolkit materials, including the digital ads and rack cards, to aid their promotional activities and share educational materials on the importance of safe medication storage and disposal. They also had the opportunity to offer free medication locking bags to attendees, in addition to other resources.

Looking forward to the spring Take Back Day on April 27, the coalition is planning to move the location of their event to the local senior center for a more community-centered atmosphere. They have goals to offer paper shredding, including additional tabling by other community agencies, and partner with the local health department for sharps-collection, free in-home sharps disposal containers, and free Narcan, an overdose reversal drug.

The Safe Disposal Campaign toolkit is available for anyone to access, and provides resources to help educators, health providers, nonprofits, and other partners share information about safe medication storage and disposal in their own communities. It includes materials like rack cards, posters, digital ads, videos, and more, many of which are customizable. The toolkit is one of the many resources in the Starts with One campaign, which is the Washington State Health Care Authority’s statewide opioid misuse prevention campaign.

Do you have stories, ideas, or learnings about how you’ve used the Take Back Day toolkit that you would like to share with other coalitions and community organizations? Reach out to to share your experience with others.