Almost 20 pounds of unused medications were collected from Barry County during a prescription "Take Back" program held Nov. 12.
On that day, area citizens dropped off their unused and outdated prescription drugs at participating locations. The Cassville Community 2000 Coalition held its "Take Back" event at Cassville City Hall, while the Southwest Coalition of Excellent Decision-makers (SW COED) held its event at Washburn City Hall. The Exeter Police Department also hosted a drop-off location at City Hall.
These events provided area residents the opportunity to safely dispose of medications that were no longer being used in order to protect area youth from prescription drug abuse as well as protecting ground water supplies.
Kati Rose, representing both the SW COED and Community 2000 (C2000), reported five Washburn residents turned in a total of 12.37 pounds of unused medications during the drop off event. Six people in Cassville also participated in the event, turning in a total of seven pounds of unused or outdated medications. No one in Exeter participated in the event.
"Eight people heard of the event through the newspaper," Rose said. "Others saw fliers posted at church or read about it in the Missouri Ruralist."
Of those participating, seven said their motivation was to prevent their medications from being abused and one said they wanted to make their household safer for pets and children. Two people dropping off medication said it was a safer alternative to flushing them down a drain or commode.
Most of the participants in the take-back event said the campaign made them more aware of potential problems associated with prescription medications.
"All and all, we were pleased with the event," said Rose. "The coalitions all feel that as we offer more events and people begin to understand the purpose, we will have even better turnouts."
The safe prescription disposal event was made possible through funding from the Department of Mental Health Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. The effort was also supported by the following community partners: the City of Washburn, the Washburn Police Department, the City of Cassville, the Cassville Police Department, the Exeter Police Department and the Exeter School District.
According to surveys conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in seven teens has abused prescription drugs in the past. Surveys also reveal that teens believe getting prescription drugs is easier than getting illegal drugs. Sixty-three percent of the teens surveyed say they get their prescription drugs from their home medicine cabinets.
In the spring, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will be sponsoring another national prescription take back event that both the SW COED and C2000 are interested in sponsoring, Rose said.