Gilmer Free Press
National Drug Take-Back Day - April 30, 2011
We all know that prescription drug abuse is a problem in our communities. Turn on the television or read a newspaper and chances are you’ll find stories chronicling the impact of substance abuse in both personal and financial loss. According to statistics from the WV Prevention Resource Network, drug overdoses were the leading cause of death in WV for adults under the age of 45. These rates were the highest in the country. Teens are often drawn to abusing prescription drugs over other “street” drugs because they perceive prescriptions to be “safer.”
Financially, West Virginia taxpayers have spent millions of dollars on issues related to people with drug and alcohol problems. In 2008 alone, “over $330 million dollars was consumed to address alcohol and drug involved offenses,” according to a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). If this trend continues on its present course, costs could reach approximately $500 million in 2017.
Based on statistics such as these, the problem of decreasing substance abuse in our area seems overwhelming. However, there are simple steps that each of us can take to make the problem just a little better. One such step is not sharing prescription medications with friends or family members. People often share their prescriptions in an effort to help a loved one, never realizing how dangerous it can be. Many people also don’t realize that sharing prescription drugs is illegal in the state of West Virginia.
Another simple step we can all take is properly disposing of our unused prescription drugs and other medications. When these drugs are buried, thrown into the trash, or flushed down the toilet, they can contaminate our drinking water. Once these chemicals enter our drinking water system, they cannot be removed through most normal filtration processes.
Not sharing prescription drugs with others as well as disposing of those drugs properly helps to keep both our loved ones and environment safe. Taking part in the National Drug Take-Back Day is one way to accomplish both. In partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and our local WV State Police detachment, the Gilmer County Family Resource Network (FRN) is promoting the DEA’s National Drug Take-Back Day. This event gives the public an opportunity to safely dispose of prescription drugs that could potentially be harmful to others and to the environment. While the take-back is a national event, you can participate locally.
Gilmer County’s State Police detachment is the local site that people in the county and surrounding area can utilize to dispose of unwanted or dangerous prescription drugs. The take-back will be held at the barracks from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Other sites around the state can be found on the DEA website at www.dea.gov under the National Take-Back Initiative.
For more information on this event in Gilmer County, contact the local WV State Police at 304.462.7101 or Kelley Cain at the Gilmer County FRN at 304.462.7545.
Kelley Cain, Project Coordinator
Gilmer County Substance Abuse Prevention Program