drug abuse prevention
Talk about a big response! Last week we put a call out for everyone in Mesa County to drop off their unused, expired, and otherwise unwanted prescription drugs during the first ever National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Not only did the community respond to this new program, you and your neighbors responded in a big way. More than two hundred pounds of prescription drugs will now be disposed of in a safe way and won’t be lying around in medicine cabinets where children or drug abusers can get their hands on them, or flushed down the toilet where they would enter our water systems. Just at the Police Department alone we collected 138 pounds of that grand total.
It was interesting to watch and listen to the people who came by to drop off their unwanted medications at the Police Department. For the four hours we were open for collections we had a fairly steady stream of folks coming by, often with grocery bags full of prescriptions to get rid of. For the most part, they were some of our more seasoned residents, but not all. What struck me the most was that even though this was supposed to be an anonymous, no questions asked way for people to clean out their medicine cabinets, most of the people who came by seemed to want to give us at least some information. Several of the people appeared a bit surprised when we didn’t ask for their names or what kinds of medication they were dropping off. “That’s it?” was a common phrase that morning when they handed the officer their bag and he simply said “Thank you.”
I can’t help but imagine what stories there are behind each and every one of those who came by. I chuckled when one of the ladies, who dropped of a significantly sized bag of medications, walked up to the counter, smiled, and said “Hello, just so you know I’m not a drug dealer.” The officer chuckled too, and reassured her he didn’t think she was. The lady then began to share a story about her husband who had recently passed and how he had to take a lot of medications during the end of his life. She didn’t go into a lot of detail, but you could tell she had a lot of memories to share.
There were other folks like her, and although we weren’t able to sit and talk with each and every one, we were glad we could at least provide a small service for them. I heard several people say, “I’ve had these around for years and just didn’t know what to do with them.” Nearly everybody said “thanks for doing this, it’s a great service.” We too say thank you. Thanks for taking the extra step and the time out of your day to do something that will help keep these old medications out of the wrong hands.
Clean out your medicine cabinet and get rid of your unwanted, unneeded, outdated, or just plain useless prescription drugs THE SAFE WAY. This Saturday, September 25, the Grand Junction Police Department is taking part in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. From 10 am to 2 pm you can drop off unused, expired medications with absolutely no questions asked. There are several locations throughout the Grand Valley, including the GJPD at the corner of 6th St. and Ute Ave.
There’s a good reason we’re doing this. Having a bunch of prescription medications lying around people’s homes is a leading cause of accidental poisoning, overdose, and abuse. In fact, some pharmaceutical drugs taken without a doctor’s prescription are just as dangerous as taking illicit drugs. Here are some stats for you:
- According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health the non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most prevalent category of drug abuse in the U.S.
- That same survey found more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those abusing cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined.
- The 2009 Monitoring the Future Survey found one in ten 12th graders use the narcotic Vicodin for non-medical purposes.
- The 2008 Partnership Attitude Tracking Survey showed the majority of teenagers using prescription drugs got them from family and friends, including from their home medicine cabinets.
The best part about this program is you don’t have to pay anything to participate. Simply stop in at a participating location, put your unwanted medications in the box, and walk out. You’re done. There are some things we cannot accept. See a full list of those items and the complete list of participating locations here.