Friday, November 6, 2009

Residents asked to bring old prescription drugs to take-back event Saturday in Northland

UPDATE: A total of 358 prescription and over-the-counter drugs were turned in Saturday.


In an effort to combat prescription drug abuse, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department and Northland Coalition are sponsoring two Prescription Take Back events.

At these events, residents can clean out their medicine cabinets and bring in old and unwanted prescription drugs for safe disposal. The Prescription Take Backs will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 7 and 21 at the following Kansas City locations:

* Nov. 7 – N.E. 82nd Terrace and N. Ditzler (across from JC Penney near southwest corner of 152 Highway and Flintlock Road)
* Nov. 21 – 8690 N. Dixson Ave., Zona Rosa Community Area (below Marshall’s)

Reports from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) reveal that prescription drugs are second only to marijuana as the illegal drug choice of teens seeking to get high. According to the ONDCP Web site, another cause for alarm is that young people, who see the prescription drugs as safer than other substances, are not just getting them from street dealers. More likely, they are securing them from close friends and unknowing family members.

In addition to these concerns, improper disposal of prescription drugs can pollute water systems and endanger the community. To address this growing area of concern locally, Kansas City Police and volunteers of the Northland Coalition are partnering to host the Prescription Take Back events.

“Prescriptions are now the major cause of fatal drug overdoses,” said Prevention Services Manager Vicky Ward of Tri-County Mental Health Services, the administrative support for the Northland Coalition. “In fact, that number has tripled from 1999, even overtaking overdoses from heroin and cocaine.”

Ward said one in five teens has abused prescription drugs, often easily obtained from their own home medicine cabinet. Since the Northland Coalition’s mission is to eradicate substance abuse, thereby improving the safety and livability of the Northland communities, Ward said partnering with KCPD for the Take Back events made sense.

“We want to prevent narcotics from finding their way out to the street to adversely affect the community,” said Officer Dan Watts of the North Patrol Division. “By partnering with the Northland Coalition to sponsor these Take Back events, we hope to raise awareness of the harm done through prescription abuse and misuse.”