In spring 2021, MED-Project USA began working with the state of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality to help implement Oregon’s new law on safe medicine disposal. MED-Project partnered with Oregon’s Kitchen Table (OKT) to conduct a statewide public engagement process focused on historically and currently underserved communities to better understand what would make it easier for families to be able to return their unwanted medicines. The purpose of this Oregon’s Kitchen Table project was to hear from people in different regions of Oregon, particularly people who are part of or directly serve historically and currently underserved communities, about what would make it easier for them to safely dispose of unwanted or expired medicines (both prescription and over-the-counter). In order to reach a number of different communities in different parts of the state, we designed a multi-faceted approach. We focused time, energy, and resources on working with community organizers and conducting interviews and listening sessions. Due to COVID restrictions, all interviews, listening sessions, and meetings were conducted by telephone, Facebook, or Zoom. OKT conducted a combined total of 33 virtual / telephone interviews, visits to existing or standing community meetings, and listening sessions by Zoom, Facebook or telephone. Approximately 140 people participated. Some of these listening sessions were voluntarily self-organized by those who OKT contacted or were arranged and facilitated by community organizers within their own communities. A total of 624 Oregonians responded to the OKT online survey available in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Somali.
We created both a summary overview and a more detailed report of what we heard over the course of these engagement activities.