A recent incident involving prescription drug overdoses at a metro high school has drawn local attention to a national problem: Millions of Americans report abusing prescription drugs and 70 percent of them site family and friends as the source.
“As adults and parents, it is our job to keep up with all pain medications in our homes and keep them locked up to deter teens and others from taking medications not prescribed to them,” said Rhonda Coleman-Jackson, nursing services manager at Oklahoma City’s Mercy Health Center.
On Saturday, April 30, Oklahoma City area residents by the dozens brought their expired medications to the Oklahoma County Sheriff's substation at Quail Springs Mall for safe disposal, instead of flushing them into the water supply.
“We see a lot of patients as Mercy’s Pain Team,” Coleman-Jackson said. “We want to make sure that once they go home with those pain medications, we keep them safe from being abused by someone else – whether that’s another family member or an intruder. When they’re done with those medications, they must have a safe way to dispose of them.”
National Take-Back Day is designed to offer a no questions asked prescription medication disposal station where individuals may simply drop off the drugs. The event also promotes medication safety in the community.
Locally, National Take-Back Day is a partnership between Oklahoma City’s Mercy Health Center, the Heartland Chapter of the American Society of Pain Management Nurses, National Family Partnership, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department.
Following the take-back collection, the expired medications were incinerated by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration; no longer a threat to the population or environment.
“The message is to protect these medications,” Coleman-Jackson said. “Do not keep these potentially deadly drugs lying out.”