IDAHO — This weekend, you can clear out the medicine cabinet in a safe way through a Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The twice-a-year, DEA-sponsored event gives people a way to properly dispose of unused, expired, or unwanted medication.
According to The Foundation for AIDS Research, Opioid, and Health Indicators Database, roughly seven in ten Idahoans has an opioid prescription, a number significantly higher than the national average.
Kendall Nagy, Director for the Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition (MADC), says there are several factors that led to such numbers here in Idaho and across the nation.
"Overprescribing, undereducating, and the things that we learned over time that we now know and we can increase our education to let people that are involved in this -- and by that I mean families, doctors, prevention people -- all working together to educate and take precautions," says Nagy.
Nagy says as they're working to bring opioid use numbers down across the board, they're also working on ways for prevention when it comes to younger populations.
"As far as youth and teens, we look at state and local data and that really drives our prevention efforts," explains Nagy. "While the majority of youth do not abuse prescription opioids, 14% do, and the majority of those are doing them in their homes or in the homes of people that they know."
Nagy says looking at responses from a survey conducted every other year, youth opioid use rates are steady.
"As we've continued to learn more and gotten further into this epidemic and increased education, hopefully, those rates we'll begin to see those tapers. But, we haven't seen that yet."
This year's spring Take-Back Day is set for Saturday, April 24. The Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition is teaming up with Blue Cross of Idaho to host a drop-off site at the Blue Cross campus in Meridian.
"Basically a very efficient, safe disposal of prescription medications, over-the-counter medications. You can just drive through, drop those off, and then we partner with the Meridian Police Department and safely dispose of those medications so that they're not in the home where we see a lot of that misuse and abuse take place," says Nagy.
The MADC & Blue Cross of Idaho event is happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 3000 East Pine Avenue in Meridian. For more information, click here.
For a list of events closer to your area, click here.