ENFIELD, Conn. – March 3, 2014 – In late 2012, the Enfield Together Coalition (ETC) in partnership with the Enfield Police Department launched a Prescription Drop Box initiative to help prevent prescription drug abuse. In its first year, residents turned in over 500 pounds of unused or expired prescription and over the counter (OTC) medications from their households. This translates to an average of 41 pounds collected each month.
“The Prescription Drop Box Program has been a huge success,” stated Captain Fred Hall, Enfield Police Department. “Disposal of unwanted medicine is free, quick, easy, and most importantly - anonymous. This program disposes of unwanted medicine that could otherwise be misused or find its way into landfills or public water supplies. The Enfield Police Department, in cooperation with the Enfield Together Coalition, has embraced this invaluable program in an effort to curb the availability of controlled substances and narcotics to our youth, while at the same time protecting the environment.”
The Prescription Drop Box lockbox is located at the Enfield Police Department, 293 Elm Street, and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Individuals may drop their expired and unused medical prescriptions into the lockbox. Syringes and liquids are not accepted. Town officials will safely dispose of all medications deposited there.
“Our message to parents is clear: Lock up your medicine cabinets and monitor your prescriptions to make sure that your kids aren’t taking drugs that are not meant for them,” explained Gina Veser, member, Enfield Together Coalition and the Police Steering Committee. “Because this is a relatively new trend, many parents are not aware that their teens are getting high off of cough medicine and controlled substances.” ETC’s mission is to develop ways to prevent and reduce the use of drugs and alcohol by Enfield youth.
Prescription Drug Abuse a Growing Concern
Prescription drug abuse is a growing concern both nationally and locally, especially among youth. From a low of 4.2 percent of 6th graders to a high of 21.3 percent of high school seniors, a 2011 study shows Enfield youth are experimenting with prescription drugs.
Prescription Drug Abuse Fast Facts (national and Connecticut):
· Nonmedical use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines remains a significant part of the teen drug problem. In 2012, 14.8 percent of high school seniors used a prescription drug nonmedically in the past year. Data for specific drugs show that the most commonly abused prescription drugs by teens are the stimulant Adderall and the pain reliever Vicodin. (Source: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/high-school-youth-trends)
o Nearly 1 in 12 high school seniors reported nonmedical use of Vicodin; 1 in 20 reported abuse of OxyContin. (Source: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/topics-in-brief/prescription-drug-abuse)
o When asked how prescription narcotics were obtained for nonmedical use, 70% of 12th graders said they were given to them by a friend or relative (MTF 2011). The number obtaining them over the Internet was negligible. (Source: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/topics-in-brief/prescription-drug-abuse)
- A report released by the Trust for America’s Healthy states that drug overdose deaths in Connecticut jumped 12 percent between 1999 and 2010. A majority of those deaths were linked to prescription drugs. In 2010, Connecticut was one of 29 states, plus the District of Columbia, in which there were more deaths due to drug overdose than motor vehicle accidents. (Source: http://healthyamericans.org/reports/drugabuse2013/)
To learn more about how to prevent over the counter drug abuse, visit EnfieldTogether.org.