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On December 6, 2016 the Kitsap Public Health board passed Ordinance 2016-02: Secure Medicine Return Regulations. This ordinance establishes a convenient, secure medicine return system for residents that:

1. Provides drop-off locations for unused medications throughout Kitsap County.

  • These regulations would expand safe medicine disposal options for Kitsap County residents to reduce risks of misuse, poisonings, and overdoses from leftover and expired medicines, and reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals entering sewer, septic, and solid waste systems.
  • These regulations would improve convenience for residents by expanding locations of secure drop boxes from law enforcement offices to pharmacies and hospitals, as now allowed under DEA regulations.

2. Provides an option for residents to dispose of unused medicine by mail at no charge.

3. Requires the pharmaceutical industry pay for these programs.

  • These regulations would ensure financial sustainability through a pharmaceutical industry-financed system providing sufficient resources to promote the program and handle larger volumes of returned medicines, and that relieves burdens on local government agencies and taxpayers.


It will be nine months to a year before the program is implemented in Kitsap County. Pharmaceutical companies have six months to submit their proposed stewardship plans to the Kitsap Public Health District. Once approved, the pharmaceutical companies have three months to implement their plan.


Each medicine producer must notify the Kitsap Public Health District (KPHD) of their intent to participate in a stewardship plan; retailers with a store label drug must notify Kitsap Public Health District that their manufacturer intends to participate.

APRIL 2017

  • Producers must provide KPHD the name/contact information for their stewardship plan operator.
  • Producers/stewardship organizers must notify all collectors of the opportunity to participate as a collector.

JUNE 2017

Producers must submit a proposed stewardship plan for KPHD to review.

SEPTEMBER 2017 (estimated)

Within 3 months of plan approval, planned collection locations are operational and collections have started.



The board took action because there are no statewide laws or programs for prescription medication return programs, and there is currently a lack of safe, convenient and legal disposal options for unused medications in Kitsap County. Unused, unwanted and expired medicines in your home pose a risk to you, your family, your community and the environment.


  • Drug overdoses in Kitsap County have surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths.
  • In 2014, 1 in 12 Kitsap 12th-graders reported using a prescription drug not prescribed to them within the past 30 days.
  • In a recent Kitsap County study, 67% of individuals using syringe exchange services who used heroin in the past 30 days reported "being hooked on" prescription drugs before they began to inject heroin.
  • In 2015, there were 499 calls to the Washington Poison Center regarding accidental medication poisoning of children six years of age and younger in Kitsap County. This comprised half of all Kitsap calls to the WAPC that year for children in that age range.
  • Medicine take-back programs provide a secure and environmentally-sound way to dispose of leftover or expired medicines, and are a part of a comprehensive approach to preventing prescription drug abuse.

Learn more about the regulations

Resources for pharmacies




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