What’s Still in YOUR Medicine Cabinet?
With prescription drug abuse on the rise in Oregon and across the country, some two dozen Oregon cities are taking part in a drug turn-in program to collect unwanted and expired drugs.
While individual communities have sponsored similar turn-in events, this is the first statewide effort of its kind, hoping to attract thousands of people and increase awareness about the disposal of potentially dangerous and addictive drugs.
The March 13th turn-in is being coordinated by The Oregon Medical Association Alliance, Community Action to Reduce Substance Abuse (CARSA) and the drug prevention non profit Oregon Partnership.
“The whole idea is to prevent drug abuse by keeping these drugs out of the wrong hands and to discard them safely,” said Leanna Lindquist, President, Oregon Medical Association Alliance. “We’re hoping that this event will shed light on the public safety and environmental aspects of discarding
prescription drugs that are no longer needed.”
Oregon Partnership’s alcohol and drug crisis line, HelpLine (1-800-923-HELP), now receives more calls about prescription drug abuse than any other drug, with the exception of alcohol.
In Portland, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s Crime Prevention Program will partner with the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct to take back unused prescription medications at the parking lot of the Fred Meyer store at 7404 North Interstate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Other cities taking part are Albany, Astoria, Baker City, Coquille, The Dalles, Eugene, Fairview/Troutdale, Hillsboro, Keizer, Klamath Falls, Medford, Myrtle Point, Newberg, North Bend, Roseburg, Salem, Seaside, Springfield, Stayton, Warrenton, and Wilsonville.
Turn-in sites will collect (in original containers, if possible):
*Expired or unwanted prescription drugs
*Drugs no longer need
*Unknown tablets and capsules
The US Geological Survey and Oregon DEQ water quality samplings have found trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in Oregon’s surface water, and focused studies have found pharmaceuticals in groundwater. Flushing unwanted drugs down the toilet – - at households, hospice and palliative care providers and long term care facilities – - are one way drugs reach wastewater treatment plants.
Today, the average American takes more than 12 different prescription drugs each year – - more than 3.8 billion prescriptions purchased annually, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. One recent survey estimated the amount of wasted drugs is as high as 45 percent.
Oregon ranks among the top states for non-medical use of pain relievers among 12-17 year olds. Teens say prescription drugs are widely available from an array of sources, including their homes, friends and relatives.
Locking your meds is a household strategy that is gaining more popularity, as parents realize that most teens who abuse prescription drugs acquire them from medicine cabinets at the homes of parents, relatives, or friends.
Young people often perceive prescription drugs to be safer than illicit drugs to get high, leading them to casually share these drugs with friends. These include painkillers (OxyContin), depressants (Xanax) and stimulants (Adderall and Ritalin).
More teens abuse prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), prescription drug abuse is higher among 18-25 year olds than in any other age group.
Although the use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs among youth has declined from 2002 through 2008, over this time many teens have turned to misusing prescription drugs, according to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
In fact, prescription drugs are misused more by this age group than any illicit drug, except marijuana. The nonmedical use of these medicines—the same drugs used to legitimately relieve pain, and treat conditions like anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, or ADHD in some people—is a growing and under-recognized problem that puts young lives at risk.
Founded in 1993, Oregon Partnership is a 501-3c non-profit organization whose mission is to end substance abuse and suicide.
OP is the state’s leading non-profit organization that promotes healthy communities through drug and alcohol awareness, prevention programs, and 24-hour crisis lines for treatment referral, crisis counseling, and suicide intervention.
OP’s crisis lines are now receiving more than 30-thousand calls annually, including an increasing number of calls for help from veterans and returning soldiers. As a result, OP has recently begun offering more outreach and assistance to the military community in Oregon.
To learn more, visit www.orpartnership.org