OHIO VALLEY — Local community coalitions have come together to provide a drug take back event to happen at home.
“In the US alone, 15 million people have abused prescription drugs,” Shannon Dalton, who works for the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health (ADAMH) and helped organize the event, said. “So, by removing prescriptions from your medicine cabinets you can reduce the chance of drug abuse or accidental misuse.”
Individuals who have expired or unneeded medications, can go to one of the supported locations to pick up a free Deterra at-home drug-deactivation bag. To use the bag, one pours the medication in, adds water, and then seals and shakes the bag. The medicine is then deactivated and can be disposed of in a trash can.
“The reason why the coalitions are doing this is because prescription drug abuse causes the largest percentages of overdosing in America,” Dalton said. “You have children and young adults, you can reduce their opportunity to access prescription medications.”
Drug deactivation and disposal is preferable to flushing medications down sinks or toilet, Dalton said.
“The treatment plants are not designed to eliminate the contaminants that are produced by prescription medication,” she said. “And of course if it leeches out into the water in our rivers and streams, that goes into our fish which is of course is consumed by us and our local wildlife.”
Bags can be picked up at a number of locations in Gallia and Meigs Counties and are free while supplies last.
There are also drug drop boxes in Gallia and Meigs Counties that can be used to dispose of medicines, including non-prescription ones. These can be found at the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office at the Gallia County Courthouse, the Gallia County Police Department, the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office and the Middleport Police Department.
Because the pandemic has prevented most in-person activity, Dalton hopes this at-home alternative still provides awareness.
Dalton said it’s hoped the “in person” drop off events can resume “down the road.”
“But right now, we’re trying to avoid doing that because of COVID-19,” she added.
The event is organized by Gallia Citizens for Prevention and Recovery (CPR) and Meigs County Prevention Coalition.
Bags can be picked up Aug. 9 – Aug. 15 in Rio Grande at Rio Family Healthcare; in Gallipolis: Bossard Memorial Library, Gallia County Health Department, Health Recovery Services, Holzer Family Pharmacy, Piggly Wiggly on 2nd Avenue, Piggly Wiggly in Sping Valley, and Zack and Scotty’s; in Pomeroy at Health Recovery Services and the Meigs County Health Department; in Middleport at Meigs County Job and Family Services; in Coolville at Friends and Neighbors, and in Chester at Hearts and Hands Thrift Store.
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Sharla Moody is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing from Gallipolis, Ohio. She is a graduate of River Valley High School and currently attends Yale University.