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In an effort to cut down on prescription drug abuse in our area, the Community Partnership of the Ozarks will be permanently installing two drop-off boxes where people can dispose of their unused medicines. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark has more.
After many successful prescription drug take-back events, the organization hopes to start permanently getting rid of medicine mistreatment in our area, especially in young circles.
“I guess one of the biggest things that hopefully people will be aware of is prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem we have among our teens today. Not only locally, but nationwide. The school district here has said that’s the fastest growing problem they have, and we hear that all over southwest Missouri.”
Chris Davis works to prevent substance abuse at the Community Partnership of the Ozarks. He says not only is prescription drug abuse the fastest growing problem in our schools, it’s also the drug of choice for kids who are 12-13 years old. He says this is a problem because these drugs are so easy for these kids to obtain.
“The other thing that goes with that is the kids, and even the parents, have that misperception that since their medications that are prescribed or given by physicians, that they’re safer than other drugs like methamphetamine, heroine or cocaine. They’re just as dangerous and just as deadly if they’re not taken as they’re prescribed to be taken.”
In the past, the organization has held different events allowing people to drop off any unused or expired medications they didn’t need anymore. The success of those drives caused CPO to apply for a small grant which helped pay for permanent prescription drop-off boxes located in the Nixa and Branson Police Station lobbies. Drop boxes cost anywhere from $600-2000.
“They’re very similar to like a postal mailbox outside, you know, the one that you drop your mail off. They’re bolted down in the lobbies currently of two police stations in the area. They have to be in places where law enforcement have secured them.”
These boxes will give anyone cleaning out their medicine cabinets a safe place to dispose of their drugs. Davis says he’s hoping that before the organization is through, many local communities will have drop boxes available.
“The Springfield Police Department has talked about that possibility, there’s just some hoops to jump through and some things that we need to make happen. We’re hopeful it will happen here in Springfield in the very near future.”
All drop-offs are anonymous and can happen at any part of the day.
For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.