Getting rid of old prescription medicine would help with the opioid epidemic

Published 3:03 pm Thursday, April 5, 2018

There’s a disturbing new trend in local crime.

People are breaking into homes not so much to get your money or other such valuables. They’re going to your medicine cabinet to get prescription medication. In many cases, it’s a bottle of pills that’s expired, unused and taking up space.

Rev. Chuck Anderson, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Shawmut, talked about this at Wednesday’s noon hour meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Valley. He discussed an organization called the Friends of the Chambers County Drug Court.

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Drug addiction may well be the most serious social problem of our time, and chief among this is opioid addiction. Sadly, many good people unwittingly contribute to this by leaving old medicine they’re not using in their medicine cabinets.

Anderson said most pharmacies now have notifications at their counters that you should bring drugs you are not using to them for safe disposal. It’s an excellent idea and something everyone should respond to.

Taking old, unused medicine to pharmacies for disposal is one of three major points Friends of the Drug Court are trying to get across. The other two are to talk to your children and to support drug courts in your community.

This is wise advice that should be followed.

Another disturbing trend because of opioids is the growth of pediatric intensive care units in hospitals.

Drug courts have an uphill climb and need as much public support as they can get. Their failures are widely publicized. If one person who is participating in the drug court program has an accident or gets arrested, it will be massively reported. There’s very little publicity for its many success stories.

Anderson talked about how tough it is to get through the drug court program. For two years, an addict turns over their life to the court. They give up their civil liberties. At any time their home can be entered to administer drug tests. To finish the program, the enrollee must have a job and the equivalent of a high school education.

“What makes it work?” asks Anderson. “The drug court judge carries a big club.”