On Saturday October 26th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Dover Police Department, Dover Coalition for Youth and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) gave the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The Youth to Youth Zombie demonstration held 3 days prior to the take back was designed to make the point that – if you think Zombies are scary – just look inside your medicine cabinet.
In a fun way, the students wanted to get people’s attention and remind them to take the time to come out Saturday and get rid of the unneeded medicines. Almost 300 pounds of medications were brought for disposal to the Dover Police Department at 46 Locust Street. “Over half of teens report that prescription drugs are easy or very easy to get” according to Dover Coalition for Youth coordinator, Vicki Hebert. “70% of teens who abuse prescription drugs obtained the medications from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. We are holding this event to allow community members to dispose of their medications and remove the source of temptation from their home.”
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Surveys show that one in five New Hampshire high school students have used a prescription drug that was not prescribed to them.
This is the sixth national take back initiative that Dover has participated in. The last five events have resulted in over 840 pounds of drugs being collected. “The turnout from previous events clearly demonstrates that people are looking for a safe way to dispose of their medications.” said Chief Anthony Colarusso of the Dover Police Department.
Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards. The DEA states that unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused or illegally sold. Unused drugs that are flushed contaminate the water supply.
If you are unable to attend a collection event during the national take back day visit the Food and Drug Administration website at www.FDA.gov to learn about other recommended disposal methods.
For more information about the take back event visit the DEA website at www.DEA.gov. If you want to learn more about the local problem and how you can get involved contact the Dover Coalition for Youth at 603.516.3279 or online at www.DoverCoalition.org.