Newswise — SEATTLE – (July 18, 2017) – Two special drop boxes in which unwanted and expired medications can be safely discarded by the public are now located in the pharmacies at Buck Pavilion and Lindeman Pavilion on the Virginia Mason campus in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood.

They are self-service and available to use free of charge during the pharmacies’ regular business hours. A similar drop box is scheduled to be installed at the pharmacy at Virginia Mason Federal Way Medical Center.

Made available through the King County Secure Medicine Return Program, the drop boxes offer a safe and environmentally responsible way for getting rid of unwanted and expired prescription and over-the-counter medicines. The program strives protect public health and the environment by reducing medicines available for misuse and keeping them out of the water supply. Medicines that reach wastewater treatment facilities release compounds that cannot be effectively removed by standard treatment methods, experts have determined.

Hung Truong, manager, Virginia Mason Pharmaceutical Services, said providing the medication receptacles reflects the organization’s commitment to safety. “We have seen a growing demand from our patients as they want to do their part by safely discarding medicines,” he said. “And we all want to do our part to reduce the misuse of prescription drugs, like opioids.”

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others. Learn more about the dangers of opioids on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.

About Virginia Mason Health System Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; regional medical centers in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others from around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management methodology for continually improving quality, safety and efficiency. Virginia Mason online:

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Virginia Mason Memorial, a 226-bed hospital serving the Yakima Valley in central Washington since 1950. Memorial online:

Register for reporter access to contact details