Carroll County Public Safety Officials gathered Oct. 26 throughout Carrollton to participate in the National Drug Take-Back Day. Created to put an end to improper usage and abuse of prescription medications, law enforcement officials said this day is dedicated to providing local area residents a responsible method of disposing of prescription drugs. This is the fifth initiative for the state.
Approximately 6.1 million Americans abuse prescription medications in the nation according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These medications sit in cabinets sometimes for years and people do not realize the harm that can come from outdated medications. According to the foundation, these forgotten drugs often lead to side effects, addiction as well as overdose in some cases.
“Many people assume that since these drugs were retrieved legally that these medications are safe to take,” said Officer Ford of the Atlanta Police Department. “The truth is that when these medications are misused, they can be as equally deadly as illegal drugs.”
One by one, cars began stopping by the fire station with grocery bags and boxes filled with unused and out of date prescription medications. One participant had medication from as far back as 2010. A similar event was held in April where local Atlanta police collected more than 370 tons of prescription drugs from their 570 sites. On Oct. 26, there were over 90 drop-off points in Georgia with workers who were dedicated to getting these drugs out of cabinets and the community.
“Prescription drug abuse has made its way to children of ages as young as 11 years old in some areas of the state,” says Ford.
The rate of teenagers abusing prescription medications is up 33 percent over the last five years, creating higher abuse rates than cocaine, according to Drugfree.org. Prescription drug abuse is the second highest drug abuse for teens in the country after marijuana use. Children get their hands on frequently prescribed medications such as Codeine, Adderall and Xanax.
These drugs have been made popular through the news media as well as entertainment for years. Hip Hop artists, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross create lyrics acknowledging and generalizing the abuse of these drugs.
According to Drugfree.org, the media is not solely to blame for the epidemic within our nation. It is up to members of the community to be responsible with their prescription medications.
“I’ve worked in the school system for eight years now and kids are smarter and have easier access,” said Anita Dale, metro school secretary. They are becoming cleverer at finding new and inventive ways to get high. If we all make the effort then we are one step closer to the goal.”
Authorities believe that this day will help eliminate the availability to children and teens within the community.
“Prescription drug abuse is a problem in many households, schools and the communities in Carroll County and across the nation,” said Ford. “By making this nationwide issue a statewide event we are lessening the numbers of statistics from within our community.”