In hopes of curtailing prescription drug abuse, the East Central University Campus Suicide Prevention Grant, Pontotoc County Drug Free Coalition and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is hosting an event in which citizens can get rid of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs on Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the 10Box Cost-Plus store at 1716 N. Mississippi in Ada.
The event is being held in conjunction with National Prescription Take Back Day. This service is free and anonymous as no questions will be asked.
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 United States are alarmingly high as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from a home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – pose potential safety and health hazards.
Nationally, prescription drugs are the second-most abused category of drugs after marijuana, with one in five young adults reporting that they have abused a prescription drug.
Locally, the statistics are staggering. There has been a 150 percent increase in the number of drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma over the last 15 years, with prescription drugs being involved in 69-78 percent of these fatalities in the last five years, according to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
The average age of first use for non-medical use of prescription medications in Pontotoc County is 13 years, according to local youth surveys. In addition, Pontotoc County ranks fourth in the state for opioid overdose deaths.
“While these statistics are grim, there is something we can all do to create a healthier future for Oklahoma. We can ensure that we are safeguarding out medications and properly
disposing of any unused or unwanted medications before they fall into the wrong hands,” said Holli Witherington, director of the ECU Campus Suicide Prevention Grant and the Pontotoc County Drug Free Communities Grant. “I hope we have a record turnout at this year’s event.”
For more information or media inquiries, contact ECU Campus Suicide Prevention Grant Coordinator Victoria Yates via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 580-559-5803.