This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
On Saturday, Partnership Carson City will hold a prescription drug roundup for residents of Carson City and surrounding areas to dispose of their unused or expired medications. Unused or expired prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, pet medications and syringes will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at all Carson City Savemart locations and at Smith’s on William Street. This is the sixth time the event has occurred in Carson City, and more than a thousand pounds of medications have been collected during the previous events.
The purpose of the prescription drug roundup is three-fold. First, properly disposing of medications keeps them from polluting our water supply. Research has shown pharmaceuticals — including prescription drugs — are present in our nation’s water and may cause environmental harm. Secondly, removing drugs from the home, where they are easily accessible, lessens the potential they will be abused. Finally, local advocates and law enforcement officials hope to raise awareness in the community about the dangers posed by prescription drugs while providing residents with an opportunity to dispose of their drugs safely.
Prescription drug abuse is an important public health issue. In 2011, abuse of prescription drugs among young people was second only to marijuana. The risks to youth are so high, because prescription drugs, especially the oft-abused narcotic painkillers, are readily available in medicine cabinets right at home. Additionally, since these drugs are prescribed by doctors, many youth have the misperception they are safe. Each day in the U.S., 2,500 young people try prescription painkillers, called opiates, for the first time. Many of them will become addicted, and may eventually move on to other drugs. Nevada is ranked in the top 10 for abuse of four different opiate painkillers, so the problem hits close to home here in the Silver State.
If you can’t make it to the drop-off locations this Saturday, you can still dispose of your unused or expired medications safely at home by following the steps below:
Put unused or expired medication in a sealable bag. Use a heave solid object, like a can, to crush the medications.
Add a small amount of water to help dissolve the medications.
Add kitty litter or coffee grounds to make the medication unattractive to children or animals.
Seal the bag and mix the contents together.
Put the bag in the trash.
Remove identifying information from prescription bottles before disposing or recycling them.
To learn more about the drug roundup or drug abuse, contact Partnership Carson City via phone at 775-841-4730, or visit on the web at www.PartnershipCarsonCity.org. For information on other Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us at www.facebook.com/cchhs.