MERIDIAN, Idaho — This weekend, cities across the nation will host prescription drug take-back events, giving people a chance to drop off expired or unused prescriptions and help stop abuse and misuse.
The Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition (MADC) is once again partnering with Republic Services to host a drop-off site for prescription drugs, something local officials say is coming at a good time in the U.S. and in Idaho.
"Local and national data shows that we have a lot of abuse and misuse of prescription drugs, and we also see that the majority of those who are misusing and abusing are getting those from friends or family members and doing so in their homes," explains Kendall Nagy, Director of the Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition. "By majority, I'm talking about 60,000 Idahoans misused pain relievers, according to a national survey on drug use and health."
In 2019, the Idaho Healthy Youth Survey showed more than 14% of 9 - 12 graders reported misusing prescription drugs.
"As we've become more aware of the opioid crisis and really honed in on education at many different levels and talking to prescribers, talking to community members, parents, that continues to be a problem, but we're addressing it with education and opportunities to dispose of the drugs safely," says Nagy.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sponsors the national drug take-back events twice a year. There are also year-round drop-off sites where people can dispose of their prescriptions safely and properly. Those can be found here.
Nagy says stopping abuse and misuse of prescription drugs starts within the home.
"I think it should be a regular part of the communication and conversations that you're having within your family, first and foremost," she explains. "Parents should talk to their youth as if this is a life skill that they need to be taught. We're all going to have to take medications at some point and so you need to talk about how to safely do that when they're prescribed directly to you by your doctor and you're taking them as prescribed versus misuse and abuse and the possible consequences that could arrive should you abuse those."
The most important part is making sure to get rid of old or unused medications and safely dispose of them so they're not readily available in the home.
The Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition's event is Saturday, October 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Republic Services on West Franklin Road in Meridian. It's being conducted in a drive-thru format so you'll be able to stay in your car during the drop-off.
To find a collection site or event near you, click here. For other questions, call (208) 559-7528.