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By Patrick R. Gallagher III, D.D.S
March 24, 2014
Category: Uncategorized
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Prescription medications can be stolen from medicine cabinets. They can be flushed down the toilet, potentially contaminating the ground and waterways. They can be accidentally ingested by children and pets.

That’s why Carroll health and law enforcement officials worked to add another prescription medication drop-off box in the county at the Maryland State Police Westminster barrack, bringing the total to five safe disposal spots around the county. And these boxes really fill up, according to Linda Auerback, the substance abuse prevention supervisor at the Carroll County Health Department.


The box was placed in the lobby at MSP’s barrack last week, where it will be available to the public 24/7. The box is extremely heavy, making it nearly impossible to steal, said Detective Sgt. Padraic Lacy, who was instrumental in starting the disposal program at the Westminster barrack.

Carroll’s year-round medication disposal program launched in 2009, and collection sites are sprinkled throughout the county in Taneytown, Sykesville, Westminster and Greenmount, according to the program’s flier. About 4,240 pounds of medication have been netted in total, according to Jessica Bullock, a Carroll County Sheriff’s Office crime scene specialist.

More than three out of four people who misuse prescription painkillers use drugs prescribed to someone else, and about 55 percent of those who abuse pills obtain them for free from a friend or relative, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from a 2010 study.

Exploring the expansion of prescription drug drop-off sites was a goal stated in Carroll’s Opiate Overdose Prevention Plan.

As Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene officials looked at 2012’s fatal overdose statistics, they noticed a 54 percent rise in heroin deaths in the state from 2011. Prescription painkiller deaths decreased during that same time frame but still were at 293 in the state in 2012.

Heroin and prescription pills are both opioids, and health and law enforcement officials have stated that a prescription painkiller addicts sometimes turn to heroin when the pill supply runs low because it produces a similar high.

Fatal heroin overdoses rose from two in 2011 to 13 in 2012 in Carroll. Prescription painkiller deaths in Carroll rose from five in 2011 to 17 in 2012, according to the latest statistics from DHMH. More updated data is not available at this time, according to DHMH spokeswoman Karen Black.

The high number of fatal overdoses in both categories prompted the state to create a Maryland Opioid Overdose Prevention Plan released in January 2013. And the state mandated each jurisdiction craft one as well.

The goal of the drop-off sites is to ensure medication is disposed of properly.

The collection sites have certain guidelines, according to a Maryland State Police news release: Over the counter and prescription medications are accepted as long as they are sealed in a container; an original container is preferred. Narcotics and illegal drugs are prohibited, as are syringes, needles, diabetic waste and sharp objects.

Auerback said it’s best to utilize these sites to ensure pills don’t fall into the wrong hands.

“If they’re at your home, they can be abused or misused — not just by teens, but by anybody who it’s not prescribed for, “ she said.

Drop-off sites

Source: http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/local/msp-adds-prescription-medication-disposal-box-at-westminster-barrack/article_d6af0b47-fe99-5bef-b11e-0d6981d67e04.html