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McMullen: Drug drop box seems like the right prescription

10 months 18 days 1 hours ago |74 Views | | | Email | Print

The Pettis County Sheriff’s Department is one of 10 new prescription drug drop-off points recently established throughout the state through a cooperative effort between the Missouri Youth/Adult Alliance and various local agencies.


Locally we’ve been trying for years to deal with a problem that has been affecting cities throughout the country: prescription drug abuse. Our regular pick-up has been going for a while now and the Oct. 1 event netted 160 pounds of chemicals that aren’t going to end up in our water supply or in the mouths of the people or animals that we love.


And while 160 pounds is an impressive haul, it could be even bigger.


What was once an event is now just a box, and that box just seems to make good sense. We could set up a mobile prescription drug command center every once in a while with the help of a band of volunteers or we could have, well, the box. In that way, the box seems to be significantly more cost-effective.


Sure, you have to consider the paid time that someone down at the sheriff’s department will be using to occasionally check the container. Sure, you’ve got to imagine the paid time being used to empty out the box. And you’ve got to consider the original price of the container and just how much, if any, of the $995 price we had to kick in.


But even if it isn’t more cost-effective immediately, I think it will easily reach that point in a few short months.


And I think it could eventually be even more effective than the event merely because it is more consistent. The people who need to dispose of their prescription drugs will now have access to a receptacle that will have dedicated hours and days of operation. They won’t have to wait for a specific day, or a specific month.


And it’s increasingly important that we do keep a tab on those old medications:


“Every day, 2,500 kids age 12 to 17 abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time, and more people are getting addicted to prescription drugs. Drug treatment admissions for prescription painkillers increased more than 300 percent from 1995 to 2005,” according to the newsletter of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


But it’s definitely not just a problem that is plaguing the youth. There are people of all ages who abuse otherwise helpful chemical combinations.


Your dusty medicine cabinet is not essentially a treasure trove of drugs to abuse. Most of the drugs found in a standard old cabinet have little to no recreational use. But that doesn’t mean that people won’t try, or that you shouldn’t turn in old medications. Those raccoons in your garbage don’t need to be more hyper.


Not to mention that the best way to help someone avoid temptation is to remove it for them.


So the next time you clean out that drawer, or that cabinet or maybe even that glove box and you find that familiar orange cylinder, don’t just pour the contents down the sink or into the garbage. And don’t let it sit around forever, either, because someone might find it and pop it. Turn in your pills!


So here’s at least one more bit of appreciation for the MYAA and the Pettis County Sheriff’s Department. The box might not fill up fast, but it will fill up eventually and provide a great alternative to the standard drug drop-off events.


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