Opiate abuse is a national epidemic. Fueled by more aggressive approaches to pain management–and even more aggressive marketing of prescription drugs–the medical system began to distribute an increasing number of opiates in the early 2000s. As a result, the number of people exposed to the medications increased, as did the number of addictions.
While Ashland County has seen a reduction in opiate prescriptions in the past year–down from 2.4 million to 1.75 doses–our community is still at risk. One of the best ways to prevent opiate abuse is to limit exposure, which is best accomplished by removing unused medication from the home.
Many people forget to dispose of medication when they are done with it, or they don’t know how. Sometimes they save it “just in case” their pain returns later. It’s essential, however, that these pills be removed from the home when not under prescribed use.
Dennis Dyer, director of the Ashland County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, recommends in his Times-Gazette article, “Dispose of Unused Medications,” ways in which our community can help protect itself from opiate addiction.
- Dispose of in a drop box: Take the medication to the drop boxes at the Ashland County Sheriff's office. There is a drop box in the lobby of the County Jail and another box at the Loudonville Police station.
- Dispose of in the trash: Use an in-home neutralization kit and dispose of in the trash. If you don’t have a kit, put the medication in a sealable plastic bag. Add something that will make the mediation unusable, like cat litter or coffee grounds, and then put in the trash.
- Do not flush unused medication down the toilet.
- Encourage your friends and family to dispose of unused medications as well.
October 27 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The Ashland County Sheriff's office is the permanent location to drop off your unused medications. The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.
Although proper disposal of painkillers is a big step in reducing opiate addiction in Ashland County, the community’s work is far from done. The Ashland Mental Health and Recovery Board is dedicated to educating our residents by providing resources and answering the most common and difficult questions Ashland residents have related to the opioid epidemic.
The Ashland Mental Health and Recovery Board is here to help. If you or someone you love is facing an opiate addiction or emergency, call our 24-Hour Crisis Hotline at 419-289-6111.