Drug take back in the Northland

Representatives from Liberty Hospital, Clay County Sheriff's Office, University of Missouri — Kansas City pharmacy school and Attorney General Eric Schmitt's office partner in taking back unwanted prescription medications during a drug take back event in April.

The Northland Coalition with support from Tri-County Mental Health Services has partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration, law enforcement agencies and other communities across the country to encourage the responsible disposal of prescriptions.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday, Oct. 26 is designated to focus on reminding anyone who uses prescription drugs to keep them carefully stored and to safely dispose of any that are no longer needed.

There are 12 permanent drop sites located in law enforcement agencies operating throughout the year in Clay County. The drop sites are provided free and deposits can be made anonymously.

“We continue to be surprised at how often this service is used,” Smithville Police Chief Jason Lockridge said. “We regularly collect between 30 and 40 pounds of unwanted/expired prescription medications each month.”

According to the DEA, studies show that majority of misused prescription drugs leading to high rates of accidental poisoning and overdoses are obtained from the medicine cabinets of family and friends.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports 20% of teens say they have taken a prescription drug without having a prescription. The most commonly misused prescription medications include opioids and pain relievers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, barbiturates and benzodiazepines including diasepam and alprazolam and stimulants including dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate.

In addition to prescription drugs, some over-the-counter drugs can be misused.

Tri-County Prevention Services Manager Vicky Ward said the importance of preventing prescription drug misuse is critical.

“It is a vital that we remain vigilant about properly storing and disposing of our prescriptions. That is imperative in order to keep them from being misused by anyone, especially our youth,” she said.

Ward added that the improper disposal of prescriptions and over-the-counter medicine, such as flushing, can negatively impact the water supply and community at large.

Ward also stressed the importance of talking to teens about the misuse of prescriptions and cough medicine, as well as to share information with them about their appropriate use and how to safeguard in their home.

As there is with most hazardous waste disposal, things not to bring include illicit drugs, sharp objects, radioactive medicines, bio-hazardous materials, glass thermometers or other medical devices.

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