The journey began in trying to find the best route to remove as many unused and older prescription drugs from homes throughout our city and reduce the availability for our youth and others to come into possession of the prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them. It started in discussions within the Mayor’s Anti-Drug Coalition (MADC) and our police department in dealing with the increase in abuse of prescription medications and ended up with invitations to meetings with Idaho DEQ and the Idaho Public Health Association and the new Idaho State University campus in Meridian and their pharmacy program. The common theme with all of these organizations is to provide a safe way to dispose of unused prescription drugs. Environmentally, we want to provide a safe way for disposal as opposed to the age old recommendations of either flushing the drugs down the drain or putting them in your trash, sometimes even hiding them in your old coffee grounds. From the Anti-Drug / prevention stand point we want to get as many un-needed and unused prescriptions out of homes in our community to reduce the chance that could be abuse by someone else who finds them.
So how do we all work together and achieve these common goals? It turns out it isn’t as easy as it sounds. They are roadblocks in certain federal agency guidelines that strictly limit how and when any controlled substance can be collected and who can collect them. A search for a solution brought us back to our grassroots / local efforts to make our community of Meridian a better place. It created a stronger partnership between the Public Works Department and the Police Department in working together towards a common solution. The solution that currently works is to have a secure locked safe capable of holding dropped off prescription drugs. It needed to be within the secure police facility of the Meridian Police Department and a police officer has to witness the drop off of the prescription drugs whenever anyone brings them into our department.
Since our public kick-off on October 1st, 2009, we have taken in several boxes of prescription drugs during the hours of 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday from members of the community. Many are tremendously thankful to finally have this option for destruction. One of the citizens that came in the first week we were taking the prescriptions back had been holding onto her old prescriptions for 2 ½ years. She didn’t feel good about flushing them and didn’t want to just throw them in her trash. Now she has a safe way to get rid of them, and she did!
It doesn’t end there, as we will continue to help in the goal of having a statewide prescription drug take back program and help any other community in the state get a similar program started as well. Don’t forget, tell a friend.