On Saturday, April 30, area residents will have the opportunity to join the fight against prescription drug abuse by participating in a locally sponsored "Take Back" event.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday, Barry County residents can drop off bottles of their unused and outdated prescriptions at the Walmart Supercenter in Monett's west entrance and at the Cassville Police Department.
"When prescriptions and medications are no longer needed, there are few options for safe disposal, and the medications are often forgotten," said Leesa Ginther, public health nurse with the Barry County Health Department and leader of the Barry County Connections Coalition (BCC) that is spearheading the Take Back event.
"A local Take Back program is an opportunity for individuals to safely dispose of medications in order to protect our youth from teen prescription drug abuse and to protect groundwater supplies," Ginther added.
According to the 2009 Partnership for a Drug-Free America Attitude Tracking Survey, 63 percent of the teens said that prescription drugs are easy to get from their home medicine cabinets and 56 percent of teens believe prescription drugs are easier to get than illegal drugs.
"The Monett Police Department and the school resource officer have stated that the wrongful use of over the counter and prescription medications is one of, if not the largest, drug problem with our area youth," said Ginther. "With this in mind, the BCC took a proactive stance to help establish Take Back events locally to address the need to dispose of unused and unwanted medications properly."
This marks the second Take Back held in Barry County. The first one took place last November.
"Nationally, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) supports and encourages two national Take Back days each year, one in April and the other in September," explained Ginther. "With these national efforts through the DEA, policies and procedures are now established, making it possible to hold these events."
Anyone can bring their unused or unwanted prescriptions or over-the-counter medications to the drop-off locations on April 30. Intravenous solutions, injectables and syringes are not accepted. Law enforcement personnel will be on hand to collect the medications. The DEA will retrieve and dispose of the medications collected locally.
The first national Take Back campaign produced impressive results. The American public turned in more than 242,000 pounds, or 121 tons, of prescription drugs for proper disposal at over 4,000 sites across the United States.
Sponsors of the Barry County Take Back campaign are: Old Town Pharmacy in Monett; Bruner's Pharmacy in Monett; Sater Pharmacy in Cassville; Weiser Tent; Friend Printing; the Barry County Health Department; The Monett Times; the Cassville Democrat; and the Monett Police Department and the Cassville Police Department.
The event coincides with the mission of the Barry County Connections Coalition, which is taking the lead in organizing this spring's Take Back day. The group exists to promote health for all Barry County residents by developing collaborative partnerships to affect environmental and police changes that foster community health.
Some of the organizations involved in the BCC include: St. John's Hospital-Cassville; Cox Monett Hospital; the Barry County Health Department; the Cassville and Monett police departments; area youth ministries; school resource officers; Cassville Community 2000; the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services; Community Partnership of the Ozarks; and three local pharmacies, Bruner's Pharmacy in Monett, Sater Pharmacy in Cassville and Old Town Pharmacy in Monett.