By: Robert Hawn
Throughout 2018, GRASP Coordinator Candice Carter and her Gloucester County Coalition worked vigorously dedicating countless hours towards fighting the opioid crisis.
Most people do not know that 2 in 5 teenagers believe prescription drugs are “much safer” than illegal drugs. Every day in the U.S. an estimated 2,500 youth take a prescription pain reliever for the purpose of getting high for the first time. The abuse of prescription painkillers often leads to the abuse of heroin.
A common way that individuals are getting their hands on these drugs is by simply going into their home medicine cabinet. When left around the house, unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to abuse, environmental harm and accidental poisoning.
In an attempt to prevent this from occurring, the GRASP coalition challenges families to take the Five-Step American Medicine Chest Challenge:
Account - take inventory of your prescription and over-the counter medicine.
Secure - your medicine chest and prescription drugs.
Dispose - of your unused, unwanted, and expired medicine in your home or at an American Medicine Chest Challenge Disposal site.
Take - your medicine(s) exactly as prescribed.
Talk - to the children in your life about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
One of the most important words on this list is “Dispose”. Individuals often hold on to medication because they forget they have the medication or they are unsure how to dispose of the medication. Medications are commonly flushed down the toilet, but in fact unused drugs that are flushed can contaminate the water supply. Proper disposal of prescription drugs not only saves lives, but protects the environment as well.
Take accountability for your prescription pills, by properly disposing of medications no longer being used. The GRASP team made sure that this would be a simple process as they partnered with local Gloucester County police stations to provide drop boxes to every township within the county.
With the installation of the drop box, local police departments add an additional resource to the fight against drug abuse and especially the opiate crisis. Each of the departments invites residents, businesses, and other partners in the community to use the drop box to prevent dangerous medications from falling into the hands of children or people suffering from addiction.
Those wishing to dispose of unused, unwanted, and expired medications in the Gloucester County area now have a new disposal site at their local Police Department. The Gloucester Regional Addictive Substances Prevention (GRASP) coalition awarded each department with an American Medicine Chest Challenge permanent prescription drop box as a partner in curbing prescription drug abuse. For more information about GRASP and how to get involved, please visit southwestcouncil.org/GRASP or call 856-494-4950.