Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

October 5, 2012

OUR VIEW: Take-back program is a hit

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Another drug take back day has passed and once again thousands of pounds of unwanted or expired prescriptions were turned in to authorities to be disposed of in a proper manner. The event is designed to curb prescription drug abuse and reduce the amount of poisons that enter the environment. This is an excellent program that we hope doesn’t go away any time soon.

We don’t have official numbers from the fifth annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day — held on Sept. 29 — but based on previous years’ statistics from eastern Niagara County, we’re sure it was a success.

Why is this program needed?

According to The Partnership at Drugfree.org, one in six teens has used a prescription drug in order to get high or to change their mood, and two-thirds of teens who abuse pain relievers say they get them from family members and friends.

That means one of two things: Either parents are turning a blind eye, or they need to put a padlock on the medicine cabinet. In any event, the numbers of teenagers abusing prescription drugs is staggering.

As for the environment, simply flushing unwanted medicine and drugs down the toilet — a practice used for decades — is not encouraged in some circles; recent studies have noted trace amounts of medicines in the water system.

The FDA acknowledges this, reporting that “flushing contributes only a small fraction of the total amount of medicine found in the water,” with most coming from natural bodily removal. Still, the FDA suggests flushing only “when a medicine take-back program isn’t available.”

Here in Lockport, there’s no need to flush them. The Lockport Police Department has a secure medication drop box inside the department’s round-the-clock-manned complaint office. The police report that the box is a hit with residents.

Will the drop-off box and the annual take-back days collect much from the drug addicts and dealers? In a word, no. However, it provides a safe and secure way to help prevent teen addiction and could cut down on prescription thefts by addicts.

It’s an annual program worth hosting, and the Lockport Police have taken it a step farther with its 24-hour drop box.