Getting Rid of Unneeded Prescriptions Safely

November 29, 2010

Recently my father-in-law passed away after a long illness, and one of the tasks associated with taking care of family business was to get rid of all his prescription medicine. As he had been in poor health for several years, we packed up a cardboard box full of pills, inhalers and other prescriptions, and set about finding how to get rid of them safely.

As a start, I called the Los Angeles County Public Health Department; they referred me to the LA County Sheriff’s Office. I called the number on their website. They referred me to a local Sheriff’s Station in East Los Angeles. I called this office, and after a couple of transfers I was speaking with one of the deputies. She told me that they had a safe disposal box in front of their station.

A few minutes later, I drove to the station and sure enough, there were two bins: one marked for “illegal drugs” and one for prescription drugs. I disposed of my father-in-law’s vast collection (including some morphine) in the prescription bin, wondering as I did so who would come to dispose of illegal drugs in the other bin.

Even though it took me a few phone calls to get the right information, this was a simple process. I was informed that many, but not all, of the Sheriff’s Substations in Southern California have these disposal bins conveniently placed near their entrances.

This seems like a good idea! Perhaps we could start a campaign to make this happen in Oregon. What do you think?



Taco Bell & Portland Trailblazers Golf Tournament Benefits Oregon Partnership.

September 23, 2010
#1 NBA draft choice Greg Oden visits OP event

OP President Judy Cushing, Portland Trailblazer Greg Oden, OP Special Events Director Barbara Caplan

How cool is this?

Taco Bell and The Portland Trailblazers teamed up with 179 golfers to raise money for Oregon Partnership’s mission to end substance abuse and suicide. The 9th Annual “Bell-Blazers Classic” was blessed with good weather and nearly-perfect course conditions at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club on Tuesday, September 21. A full complement of celebrities joined in to make it a very enjoyable day.

What really stood out for me was the sincerity of the participants.

After most tournaments the golfers scatter, but at the Bell-Blazers Classic they stayed to hear about the drug prevention work of Oregon Partnership. Tom Cook, the head of the Taco Bell Franchise holders association , made an emotional personal endorsement about the importance of what we do to combat the ravages of drugs and alcohol. He challenged the participants to step up and join in that work with their personal donations. Mr. Cook also made a point to emphasize the Military Helpline ( and the fact that 20% of our nation’s suicides are veterans.

It was moving to see so many people embrace these efforts with their hearts, minds and wallets.

– Tom

Teens craft films to address issues in the Portland Community

September 3, 2010

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to work with talented, creative, passionate and open-minded  teens who want to give back to their communities.

Teens met regularly to discuss the issues affecting the Portland community and then created short films to share what they learned with the public. The films premiere this month.

Students Creating Entertainment for Neighborhood Empowerment (SCENE) is as unique as the youth who named the summer program. The SCENE team was made up not only of excellent students, but a wonderful collaboration between several organizations that share their passion to give back to the community through youth and make positive impressions on them. For example, the Portland Police Bureau has developed an solid relationship with the SCENE teens who are now committed to saying a friendly “Hello” to all police officers they see in passing.

The teens not only learned the issues affecting the Portland community through weekly curriculum, but learned how to develop their ideas into short films from an exceptional team of film makers from Portland Community Media. The SCENE teens also learned how to channel their artistic traits with the help of the FreeArts team.

Most people might imagine a group of teens sitting in a summer , heads in their books or looking out the window at the weather. Let me dispel that, these teens were fully engaged and the summer was a blast! The SCENE team interviewed people on the streets, enjoyed great food during social time, learned about drug prevention, developed relationships with community members and made new friends with students from other schools.

SCENE is  one of the best projects I have had the pleasure of being a part of and I look forward to seeing the SCENE team again!

– Angela


July 16, 2010

A new SAMHSA study shows the dramatic increase in prescription drug abuse, necessitating the need for more drug prevention efforts among teens.

Don’t Miss Prescription Drug Turn-In Day!

March 12, 2010

On March 13, 2010 a grassroots Prescription Drug Turn-In event will be held in a community near you!drug prevention - lock your meds

This event is an opportunity for your community to take their unwanted drugs to a central location for incineration. The Turn-In event is sponsored and spearheaded by the Oregon Medical Association Alliance, CARSA, Oregon Partnership and other drug prevention community groups.

We encourage interested community members and coalitions to join our effort to raise awareness on the danger of prescription drug abuse by adults and teens.

Click here for a list of local Turn-In events and contact information.

Click here for more information on the Prescription Drug Turn-In event.

This first-ever statewide Prescription Drug Turn-In Day will take place in over thirty Oregon cities. With prescription drug abuse on the rise in Oregon and across the country, organizers are asking Oregonians to turn in their expired and unwanted drugs while promoting safe storage of prescription drugs through the “Lock Your Meds” campaign, sponsored by the National Family Partnership.

Watch “Teens and Drugs: Prescription for Abuse”

March 5, 2010

The Fox 12 Oregon special aired at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 6 on KPDX(49) and at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 7 on KPTV(12).

prescription drug abuse prevention
 Click here to watch the program.

First Oregon Statewide Prescription Drug Turn-In March 13

February 18, 2010

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