By Ali Chorley

Guest Columnist

Did you know that 20% of teens say they have taken a prescription drug without having a prescription for it? According to the Minnesota Department of Health, opioid related deaths have continuously skyrocketed during the last decade. In the seven-county metro, drug overdose deaths increased 40% from 2019 to 2020 alone (483 to 673). October marks the beginning of National Medicine Safety Awareness Month and Partners in Prevention is excited to shine the spotlight on this important mission. 

Partners in Prevention is a local community coalition working to prevent and reduce youth substance use and promote mental wellness. Partners in Prevention is proud to be serving the Wayzata School District and surrounding communities since 2001.

As the opioid crisis maintains momentum, we’d like to share a few ideas about how to be a part of the solution to ending this epidemic.

Medicine safety includes two main tactics: safe storing and proper disposal. Finding a safe place to store medications is essential so they are out of reach from everyone to whom they are not prescribed. This includes young children, teenagers, elders as well as visitors to the home. Disposing of unwanted, used and/or expired medications protects both the environment and public health. That is a win-win. Unused medications are ending up in landfills and in water systems, contaminating and harming both our water supply as well as the environment. Disposing of medicine properly protects elders from accidental medication mismanagement, children from accidental exposure, and everyone from abuse.

It is not safe to flush any sort of medication down the toilet or sink, dispose of it in the trash, mix it with kitty litter, coffee grounds or any other at-home remedy. These methods do not deactivate active ingredients in the medicine and are unsafe for the environment. 

There are several ways to dispose of medications so we encourage you to find one that works best for you. (1) There are several medication drop-boxes throughout the community. You can bring your unwanted or expired medicine to these locations and drop them in the self-operating storage bin. See a list below of local drop boxes. (2) You can use an at-home medication deactivation kit, called a Deterra Bag. There are several Deterra pick-up locations around the community, including one that will mail it right to your door. Check out the list below. (3) Lastly, each fall and spring, local communities hold a National Take-Back Day in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The fall Take-Back Day is Oct. 23. More information on participating police departments can be found on our website, PartnersInPreventionMN.org.

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain medicine. The survey also showed that the majority of misused medications were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Together, we can change this reality. Thank you for being a part of the solution.

 

Local medication drop boxes:

• Hy-Vee Pharmacy - Plymouth (16705 County Road 24)

• Allina Health/West Health - Plymouth (2855 Campus Dr.)

• CVS Pharmacy - Plymouth (4140 County Road 101 N.)

• Hennepin County District Court - Minnetonka (12601 Ridgedale Dr.)

 

Deterra Bag pick-up sites:

• Plymouth Police Department - Plymouth (3400 Plymouth Blvd.)

• Cub Pharmacy - Plymouth (3550 Vicksburg Lane N.)

• Wayzata Police Department - Wayzata (600 Rice Street E.)

• Partners in Prevention in Oakwood Elementary - Plymouth (17340 County Road 6 W.)

• Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office

 

Ali Chorley is the director for Partners in Prevention. To learn more, visit PartnersInPreventionMN.org.

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