Disposing of unused or expired medications in a fashion that is simple, legal, and environmentally responsible can be a challenge.
Members of the Grove Community Action Network (GCAN) are also concerned that many of these drugs end up in the hands of teenagers.
In an effort to get prescription drugs off the streets GCAN is partnering the Grove and Jay police departments to host a drug dump in the fall.
Members of GCAN met with Grove Chief Mark Morris and Jay Chief Mike Shambaugh this week to discuss the event, which will coincide with a national event with the same purpose in mind.
Representatives of the Claremore Police Department attended the meeting as well and offered advice and resources to help promote the project since they have had a successful event in their city in the past.
Many residents have expired prescription drugs in their medicine cabinet and are uncertain what to do with them. Research has found that many young people who abuse prescription drugs acquire them from their own home medicine cabinet or from their grandparent’s medicine cabinet.
One of the most abused drugs is OxyContin, a painkiller prescribed for relief of moderate to severe pain resulting from injuries, bursitis, neuralgia, arthritis, and cancer.
“Our goal is just to get the drugs off the street,” said GCAN board member Chuck Watson.
Disposal procedures have been a controversial subject.
Many people toss expired or unused medications in the trash or flush them down the toilet. Some components of these drugs end up in our lakes, streams, and water supplies.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “The improper disposal of unused medications by flushing them or pouring them down the drain may be harmful to fish, wildlife and their habitats.”
Additionally, throwing medications away in the garbage may be dangerous since they can end up in the mouths of children or household pets.
According to an Associated Press Investigation reported in early 2008, “A vast array of pharmaceuticals —- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones —- have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.
Since the amount of the drugs found in our water supply is hundreds or thousands of times lower than the quantity found in the medications that we take, it is not clear what the potential harm is to humans. However, research has shown that there can be effects on animals that live in the water such as fish and frogs.
Some groups, however, are saying that the potential for immediate harm from exceptionally dangerous drugs far outweighs the environmental hazards and that flushing them is the best option.
The Prescription Dump Day will be held November 13 at the Grove Community Center from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and in Jay at the Jay Community Center from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“We want to make this as easy as possible for people to drop off their unused prescription drugs,” said Chief Morris.
The drugs will be counted by the police department and disposed of properly. Residents can put all the pills in a Ziplock bag if they don’t want to turn in their bottle with a label on it or they can mark out the label with a black marker, which will be available at the site.
GCAN is planning to promote the event during the next couple of months at area civic organizations.