Remember to responsibly dispose of pharmaceuticals (letter)
Most Summit Daily News readers are likely aware of Summit County’s upcoming electronics recycling and pharmaceuticals drop-off event taking place on March 14. And you’ve probably heard about the important water quality benefits of keeping medications out of our landfill and wastewater systems.
What you may not know is how impactful these collection events can be in the prevention of prescription drug abuse – a problem that is particularly acute here in Colorado. In 2012-13, Colorado ranked 12th in the nation in self-reported nonmedical use of opioid painkillers, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. And painkiller overdoses are responsible for 300 Colorado deaths per year; nationally, more people die from prescription drug overdoses than from car accidents or overdoses of street drugs.
Prevention of abuse and misuse depends on three strategies: safe use (use medications only as directed), safe storage (lock them up, out of sight) and safe disposal (get rid of unused drugs, but not down the drain). Leaving unused or expired medications in easily accessible locations, like an unsecured medicine cabinet, increases the likelihood they’ll be abused. Teens report that prescription medications are easier to obtain than beer, and in Colorado, one in six high school seniors has taken prescription drugs without a prescription.
If you have unused or expired drugs in your home, we urge you to help prevent prescription drug abuse by dropping off those items at the collection event, 8 a.m. – noon, Saturday, March 14, at the Summit Stage Bus Barn, next to the Summit County Commons in Frisco. For more information, visit http://www.highcountryconservation.org and http://www.takemedsseriously.org.
Healthy Futures Initiative Coalition
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