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Needham Public Health Department reminds residents of prescription medication take-back program

Posted by Evan Allen  January 7, 2013 09:55 AM

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The Needham Public Health Department is reminding residents of the take-back safe in the Police Department where they can safely dispose of unused medications.

Residents can drop off unused prescriptions 24 hours a day in a mailbox-like safe in the lobby of the police station.

The town’s take-back program, established in 2010, was one of the first such programs in the Commonwealth, according to the department, and the goal is to keep adolescents and young people from getting their hands on prescriptions that aren’t theirs.

Below is the informational advisory on prescription drug abuse sent out by the department.

Needham Cares about Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is the Nation’s fastest growing drug problem, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified it as an epidemic. “Prescription drug abuse” means taking a prescription drug that is not prescribed for you, or taking it other than as directed by your physician. Abuse of prescription drugs can produce serious health effects, including addiction. Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioids (for pain), central nervous system depressants (for anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (for ADHD).

Recent data indicates that 70% of people aged 12 and older who abuse prescription drugs get them from family and friends as opposed to a stranger, drug dealer, or over the Internet (Monitoring the Future, 2011).

For many adolescents, prescription drugs serve as a first initiation into illicit drug use: data from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time that year began by using a prescription drug non-medically. And prescription and over-the-counter medications are the illicit drugs that teens abuse most, with about 1 in 9 young people aged 12-25 using prescription drugs non-medically each year (NSDUH, 2010). Teens who abuse prescription drugs are far more likely to be using other substances as well: of those teens that abuse prescription painkillers, 81% have also used alcohol and 58% have used marijuana (Wu and Pilowsky, 2008).

In April 2011, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released “Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis,” which can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp. It is a multipart, multiagency plan with four areas of focus: education, monitoring, proper medication disposal, and enforcement.

Needham cares about preventing prescription drug abuse in our community. The Needham Coalition for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention (NCYSAP), the Needham Public Health Department (NPHD), and the Needham Police Department (NPD) collaborated in 2010 to bring a medication take-back program to Needham, one of the first such programs in the Commonwealth. Residents can drop-off their unused prescriptions 24/7 in a mailbox-like safe located in the lobby of the Needham Police department.

Visit our website for more information.

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com

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