AMCC National Day of Awareness and Safe Disposal

American-Medicine-Chest-ChallengeFar too often, prescription drugs end up in the wrong and/or unintended hands. People prescribed opioids will take the drugs until the pain subsides and then leave the unfinished pill bottles in the medicine cabinet to collect dust. A practice which may be relatively harmless when you are a living alone. However, it is a different story when it comes to families.

Many teenagers and young adults come across prescription opioids for the first time in the family medicine cabinet. Those who decide to take the unused medications, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, are at risk for addiction or worse – overdose. The CDC reports that 44 people lose their life to prescription opioid overdoses every day in America. Naturally, mitigating the harm that can accompany non-prescribed painkiller use is crucial in the fight against the opioid epidemic that has been crippling families for over a decade.

American Medicine Chest Challenge

One way to keep prescription opioids out of the wrong hands is to safely dispose of unused or unwanted medication. Throughout the year, there are times when people can dispose of the medications at predetermined sites, giving Americans an opportunity to have an active role in the fight against the nation’s worst epidemic in modern times.

This month, the American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC), a community-based public health initiative, will hold the sixth-annual National Day of Awareness and Safe Disposal, according to a news release. On November 14th, families are encouraged to safely dispose of their unwanted medications at more than 1500 collection sites across the country. Both families and individuals can find a list of disposal sites at AmericanMedicineChest.com or by downloading the free app AMCC Rx Drop.

The Challenge

Families are encouraged to take the American Medicine Chest Challenge, an opportunity to not only take stock of the potentially dangerous drugs in their home, but also learn more about prescription drug abuse in order to better inform children as to the dangers.

“The American Medicine Chest Challenge can help save the lives of our children,” said Angelo M. Valente, CEO of AMCC. “On November 14th we encourage all Americans to take the 5-Step American Medicine Chest Challenge and find a location to safely dispose of your unused, unwanted and expired medicine.”

The five-step challenge encourages families to:

  • Take inventory of their prescription and over-the-counter medicine
  • Secure their medicine.
  • Dispose of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine in their home or at an AMCC disposal site.
  • Take their medicine(s) exactly as prescribed.
  • Talk to their children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

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Please contact Next Step Intervention if you are struggling with prescription drugs. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

Surrender Your Drugs and Go To Treatment

surrender-drugsThe “war on drugs” has been quite effective with regard to getting addicts off the streets, but it has done little to address the problem of addiction – a disease which plagues millions of Americans. People who are arrested and imprisoned, simply for the crime of being an addict, often find themselves in a hamster wheel.

The rates of jail recidivism among drug addicts who are released is extremely high. Research tells us that jail does little when it comes to teaching people how to live a life free from drugs – something treatment does quite well.

Treatment Over Jail

In many states there exist drug courts, which give those charged with drug crimes the option of probation and addiction treatment counseling as opposed to being locked up. Such programs have been found to save taxpayers money, and help rather than harm a number of people who are already suffering. However, there are many who feel that treatment is more successful when it is not mandatory or forced.

In many states across the country, prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction have become the largest social welfare issue. The death toll related to the use of opioids is staggering and some cities have begun thinking outside the box.

Surrender Your Drugs and Go To Treatment

In the little New England city of Gloucester, Massachusetts, the local police chief launched a novel program which provides substance use disorder treatment for people who turn in their illegal drugs to the police, WBUR reports. Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello said that 17 people have accepted the offer thus far.

While the number of people who have accepted treatment may seem small, Campanello points out that 17 people is more than three times the number of people who have died of drug overdoses in a town of 29,000, Needham, MA, this year alone. What’s more, the 17 who surrendered were using opioid drugs, such as heroin, morphine and oxycodone – drugs which all carry the potential for overdose.

“We need to get people into treatment,” Campanello said. “If they fail, we need to get them into treatment again. Just keep trying. Arresting them or coercing them into treatment just doesn’t work.”

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If you are struggling with prescription opioids or heroin abuse, please do not hesitate to contact Next Step Intervention. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help show you how to live a life free of opioid addiction.

Prescription Drug Take-Back Movement

prescription-opioidsThe Epidemic

The prescription opioid epidemic in the United States has led to a rise in addiction and premature deaths resulting from opioid overdoses. After years of over prescribing, these highly addictive narcotics have flooded American communities, crippling individuals and devastating families.

Solutions

Nationwide efforts have been made to combat this deadly crisis, such as prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), the closing of “pill mills,” and the creation of prescription drug take-back programs. Collectively these methods have proven effective; PDMPs have diminished the ability to doctor shop – the act of going to multiple doctors for the same type of drugs. Prescription take-back programs have made it more difficult for these types of drugs to fall into the wrong hands.

Curbing the problem comes at a cost. Individual states are spending millions of dollars on programs such as these. Three years ago, Alameda County, CA, created an ordinance requiring big pharma to offset the costs of prescription drug take-back programs. The county prevailed, but the pharmaceutical companies were not going to lose without a fight.

The Fear

The pharmaceutical industry feared, and they were right in doing so, that other parts of the country would follow the Alameda County initiative. After two previous attempts to get the ordinance overturned, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an industry request to review the lawsuit over the Alameda County prescription drug take-back program ordinance, The New York Times reports.

Three industry trade groups claimed the ordinance was unconstitutional. They believed that the law violates interstate commerce and discriminates against out-of-state companies through the shifting costs to drug makers.

Joining the Fight

Since the Alameda County ordinance passed, others have followed suit. Two more counties in California and one in Washington have adopted similar laws, according to the article. Scott Cassel, chief executive at the Product Stewardship Institute non-profit which supports take-back programs, found that at least a dozen other local governments around the country are considering similar ordinances.

“I think we’ll see a groundswell of both local and state governments,” says Cassel.

Facing Addiction Head On

Efforts which force the hand of pharmaceutical companies to share some of the burden of an epidemic they helped to create is a step in the right direction. However, simply making it more difficult for addicts to get their hands on prescription opioids is not enough. Many addicts will turn to the cheaper, stronger alternative – heroin.

Creating greater access to substance use disorder treatment facilities is of the utmost priority. Educating the public about the nature of prescription drug abuse, and the options available for recovering from addiction, will go a long way in the fight against this insidious issue.

Recovery

Recovery is difficult process, but one that is well worth it. There are a number of different avenues to take on the road to recovery. At Next Step Intervention, we provide a variety of treatment options to choose from if you are looking for a new way of life – one free from addiction. If you are struggling with prescription opioids or any other mind altering substance, please do not hesitate to reach out for help.

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