Prescription drug take-back event sends a strong signal to youth

Keeps medicines from being abused, polluting environment
By: Joanna Jullien, Gold Country News Service
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The Coalition for Placer Youth, with the participation of the Placer Youth Commission, is organizing a countywide medication “take-back” event Saturday, April 30. It is part of a national effort to prevent increased pill abuse and theft by collecting expired, unused, and unwanted medications. Equally important is keeping these medications from being flushed down the toilet. The DEA reports that prescription drug abuse in the U.S. is increasing at an alarming rate, as is the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. A majority of abused prescription medications are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Vanessa Pohley is a freshman at Placer High School in Auburn who applauds this community effort to clean out medicine cabinets of expired or unused prescription medication. “Kids get prescription pills from their parents’ homes and it ruins lives because kids can become addicted when parents don’t realize the medication is missing,” Pohley said. Pohley believes that if prescription pills were monitored at home, the chances of kids getting into prescription pills would be much less. “In the seventh grade, I witnessed eighth graders using prescription drugs and getting into trouble,” she said. “They do it because it is easy to get and they want to fit in with others doing the same thing.” Megan Siren, administrative analyst and transit manager for the city of Auburn, said the city’s goal is to educate residents about getting rid of unwanted medications. “We participate in the collection event to raise awareness about the proper way to dispose of unwanted medications,” Siren said. “Pharmaceutical waste is a growing problem in our community, and we ask our residents to stop flushing medications down the drain into our sewer system. The collection event allows our residents to properly dispose of their unused and expired medications.” DEA studies show that every day, on average, 2,500 teens use prescription medications to get high for the first time and 63 percent of teens believe that prescription medications are easy to get from friends’ and family’s medicine cabinets. The medication take-back event is free and anonymous, with no questions asked. It is being staged in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, local school districts, wastewater and solid waste agencies, Placer County Health and Human Services and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Participants are asked to remove labels from the bottles, or to make any personal information (i.e. name, address, phone number, birth date) unreadable for privacy reasons. Sharps (needles and lancets) and aerosol medications will not be accepted at the drop-off locations. Bridget Jones contributed to this report ------------------------------------------------------- Drug take-back event What: Turn in prescription or over-the-counter medications When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30 Where: Medications can be turned in at any of these locations: · Auburn City Hall, 1225 Lincoln Way, Auburn · Foresthill Sheriff Sub-Station, 24580 Main St., Foresthill · Sierra College (Rocklin), corner of Rocklin Road and El Don Drive, Parking lot D · South Placer Sheriff Sub-Station, 6140 Horseshoe Bar Road, Loomis · Tahoe City Fire Department, 300 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City