New Drug Drop-Offs Popping Up near Riverside, California
As rates of overdose from the abuse of prescription painkillers continue to rise in Riverside, other California communities, and throughout the country, public health officials are putting new programs in place to help combat this swelling epidemic. One of the contributing factors to the trend of widespread prescription drug abuse is the ease of access to these medications. Because they are technically legal, many individuals who seek to abuse these prescription drugs have found that they can obtain them through a process known as “doctor shopping” in which one secures several prescriptions simultaneously from different doctors, or by purchasing or stealing their substance(s) of choice illegally.
Yet slowly, the public is becoming more aware of the dangers of these substances, as new light has been shed on the highly addictive properties of these drugs. Doctors have begun to restrict the rate at which they are prescribing these drugs to their patients, and are working to educate their patients on how to use these drugs within safe guidelines. But questions remain as to how to combat the rates of prescription painkiller abuse, and how to remove the stigma for those individuals who wish to seek help and remove these drugs from their homes.
If one wishes to remove drugs from the home prior to seeking treatment, to eliminate temptation, or merely wishes to get rid of legally acquired prescription pills one no longer needs, a new outlet exists to safely dispose of these drugs. Drug drop-off locations are popping up near Riverside County in Los Angeles, with Walgreens offering safe, secure disposal of any prescription drugs at nearly 300 pharmacies in 21 states. These repositories are a key component of drug take-back programs that have become increasingly popular in recent years, providing the ability to dispose of controlled substances and over-the-counter medications as well. In addition, this safe disposal method is keeping harmful, toxic substance out of our water supplies by intercepting drugs that might otherwise be flushed or washed down the drain.
Removing the Stigma
Communities across the nation are reporting record-breaking growth in the collection of these drugs, evidence that these programs are providing a much-needed disposal outlet for dangerous substances. But drug drop-offs are having a positive impact beyond curbing painkiller abuse. According to research from the Department of Justice’s Dose of Reality program, many heroin addicts abused prescription painkillers prior to their first heroin use. This link between the abuse of drugs such as heroin and fentanyl, and the later abuse of prescription opioids is an important factor in curbing substance abuse of many kinds.
Drug drop-offs provide a safe, secure outlet to dispose of harmful substances in convenient locations throughout the country. Aside from the many participating Walgreen’s pharmacies in many states, many localities are beginning to initiate their own drug take-back programs to help combat the devastating effects of opioid abuse. For example, residents of Riverside County in California are able to dispose of prescription medications for free at any of the County’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection facilities and events. These programs are keeping harmful toxins out of the environment and are helping to keep Riverside residents’ homes free from substances of abuse.