Published on October 20th, 2019 | by Deb Wolf0
Do your Part on Prescription Drug Take Back Day
Current prEvents — Times Argus — October 19, 2019
By Ann Gilbert
Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a national effort which occurs every spring and every fall. It is that time of year again and will take place on Saturday, October 26th from 10am until 2pm. This is a chance to do a little fall cleanup by gathering up the unused, old, or expired medications and getting them out of the house. This event emphasizes the dangers of misused prescription medications and offers a way that everyone can pitch in to help.
Does this matter? It sure does! We are well aware of the opioid problems across the country and right here in Vermont. One way to prevent this problem is to decrease the access of medications and drugs through safe disposal. Most meds should not be thrown into the trash, composted, flushed down the drain, or left around the house. It’s best to keep them out of the landfills and help avoid harming water sources, wildlife, pets, and people.
According to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) which Vermont students take every two years, 10% of Vermont high school students reported that they misused a prescription pain medicine or stimulant. Misuse can mean taking a medication which was not prescribed to them and/or taking a dosage different from what was prescribed or for a purpose not intended by the prescribing physician. The data also shows that older students, like 11th and 12th graders, were more likely to misuse than younger students; males were more likely than females to report taking a stimulant not prescribed to them in the past 30 days. The younger that kids start using substances, the more likely they are to develop a dependence in their life.
Many people have their aches and pains, injuries, and surgeries. Prescriptions have been filled to relieve pain following wisdom teeth extraction or even to suppress a cough. Unfortunately, many of these medications, even over-the-counter drugs, may still be in the home but no longer needed. This leaves the door open for unintended consequences like poisonings, theft, and addiction.
In response to our country’s substance misuse epidemic community partners are working together. The Vermont Department of Health promotes the collaboration of regional prevention partnerships including community prevention coalitions, health professionals and pharmacists, parents and educators, and local law enforcement agencies who work together to help build safer and healthier communities.
Vermont’s “Do Your Part” campaign encourages community members to follow easy key steps: 1) LOCK: Store medications in a lock box or locked medicine cabinet; 2)DROP: Drop off unused medication at a safe disposal kiosk or drop box at your local police station or pharmacy or hospital; 3) MAIL: Use the pre-paid medication mail-back envelopes available at libraries, senior centers, the VT Department of Health website, or by calling (802) 651-1567.
More often than not, the misuse of drugs begins in the home. More than half of people who misuse a prescription painkiller like Oxycontin or a stimulant like Ritalin, say they got it from a friend or relative—often straight out of the medicine cabinet.
Washington County Sheriff W. Samuel Hill has coordinated the following seven collection sites within Washington County for safe disposal on October 26th. These sites are staffed by local and state police, and the sheriff’s department, for people to safely and anonymously drop off medications. It’s easy and free and no questions asked. The last Take Back Day event took place in April 2019 when Vermonters brought back 6,000 pounds of prescription drugs! This dose of prevention is a community solution to prescription drug misuse.
• Washington County Sheriff’s Department, 10 Elm Street, Montpelier
• Montpelier Police Department, 1 Pitkin Court, Montpelier
• The Vermont Statehouse, 115 State Street, Montpelier (Supported by Capitol Police)
• Barre City Police Department, 15 Fourth Street, Barre City
• Northfield Police Department, 110 Wall Street, Northfield
• Kinney Drugs, 800 US Route 302, Berlin (Supported by Berlin PD)
• Kinney Drugs, 80 South Main Street, Waterbury (Supported by VT State Police)
Don’t worry if you can’t make it to Take Back Day. Remember–year-round, permanent safe disposal drop boxes in Washington County, VT are located at the Police Stations in Barre City, Barre Town, Berlin, Montpelier, and Northfield; at the Washington County Sheriff’s Department in Montpelier; Kinney Drugs in Berlin, Waterbury, & Waitsfield; The Medicine Shoppe in Barre; and Central Vermont Medical Center lobby at the main entrance. Other Vermont locations can be found here.
For national information and to find nationwide collection sites, visit: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html
For help with drug dependence or addiction and find treatment options: http://www.healthvermont.gov/alcohol-drugs/help
Ann Gilbert is the Director of Central Vermont New Directions Coalition, encouraging healthy behavior and decreased substance use in the community.