Letter: ‘Take-Back’ initiative fights pill abuse

To the editor:

Saturday, Oct. 26, is Prescription Drug Take-Back Day all over the country and in Newport County.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Portsmouth, Tiverton, Newport, Little Compton, Middletown and Jamestown Police Departments and the substances abuse prevention task forces and prevention coalitions in every community are partnering a “Take-Back” initiative to prevent increased pill abuse.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the DEA will be collecting unused and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at all the local police stations. This service is free and with no questions asked, anonymous and most of our police departments have a prescription take-back drop-off policy in effect every day now, 24/7.

Prescription drug abuse costs over 15,000 lives a year. Seventy percent of people age 12 and older who abuse prescription drugs say they get them from friends. Non-prescribed prescription drug abuse is a growing trend and is seen as a “gateway” drug now. The insurance companies costs for loss due to prescription drug abuse is $15 billion a year!

What can a parent do? Think about your home. What prescription and over the counter drugs do you have? Where are they kept? Would you know if some were missing? The good news is that you can take steps immediately to limit access to these drugs and help keep your children/youth drug-free.

Safeguard all drugs at home. Monitor quantities and control access. Set clear rules for teens about all drug use, including not sharing medicine and always following the medical provider’s dosages. Be a good role model by following these same rules with your own medicines. Properly dispose of old or unused medicines. Ask friends and family to safeguard their prescription drugs as well.

Join us on Oct. 26 and turn in those old unused, outdated prescription drugs at your local police station and do something that can help keep our kids safe. Together, parents, grandparents, police departments and prevention coalitions and task forces in Newport County can all help bring attention to the growing and very dangerous problem of un-prescribed abuse of prescription drugs by youth.

Please take a little time to go through your own prescription drugs and take back those outdated unused drugs to your local police department on Saturday, Oct. 26. Have a discussion with your children and let’s make our homes a little safer.

Ray D. Davis

Coordinator, Portsmouth Prevention Coalition

This letter was also signed by Rebecca Elwell, coordinator of the Tiverton and Little Compton prevention coalitions; Lori Verderosa, coordinator of the Middletown Prevention Coalition; Laura Hosley, coordinator of the Jamestown Prevention Coalition; and Ben Ellcome, coordinator of the Newport Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force.

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