Home is where the drugs are

   Remember that bottle of painkillers that was prescribed following that long-ago root canal? After a couple of days the pain subsided and, well, what was the point of taking the rest of the pills, right?

   And how about the medication you were given for your bum knee, or maybe that tricky lower back?

   Same story, most likely. Like many folks, you didn’t finish off the prescription, and those unused pills have been waiting in a medicine cabinet for the “next time” they’re needed.

   If you are a parent, there’s a chance the “next time” those pills might be used will be by your son or daughter, or perhaps a visiting grandchild.

   That’s because prescription painkillers, especially the opiate Oxycodone, have become increasingly popular among young people looking for an inexpensive (free) high. OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan and Tylox are other trade names for Oxycodone products, which are classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II narcotic.

   Medical experts say those who favor the drug for the euphoric experience it delivers can become addicted to them and will resort to theft or prescription fraud to get more pills.

   Officials say Oxy and similar drugs have become very popular on local high school campuses, where that next “high” can be as close as a parent’s supply of unused pills. A child who may not be interested in taking the pills has the option of selling them to friends for some quick cash.

   Disposal of the pills in the trash, or flushing them down a toilet is against the law, due to possible contamination of water supplies. The best option is to turn them in to authorities, but how?

   County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and the county’s Oxy Task Force have a good solution, one that will be advanced at next Tuesday’s board meeting. As part of a new ordinance, Slater-Price proposes to install approximately 20 prescription drug-collection containers at sheriff’s facilities, including those in Ramona, Poway and 4S Ranch. The sturdy boxes will allow people to deposit the unused medications, with no questions being asked.

   The boxes will cost between $25,000 and $35,000, and, if approved, should be in place in about six months. Part of the money will come from the sheriff’s department with the balance being drawn from Slater-Price’s Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funds.

   The concept of drop-off locations works. Last Saturday over 2,000 pounds of prescription drugs were turned in at six locations throughout the county.

In our view, having 20 similar, permanent locations will be money well spent, and we encourage the county board to quickly adopt the measure.

Steve Dreyer
Editor
Pomerado Newspapers

   
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