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Medicine Chest Challenge is national event

November 7, 2010
By PAT ROSS, Administrative Assistant, Columbiana County MHRS Board

The American Medicine Chest Challenge is a national event scheduled on Saturday, Nov. 13.

It is a public health initiative to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and provide a nationwide day of safe disposal of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine.

Locally, the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, the Columbiana County Drug Task Force, Family Recovery Center, Salem Community Hospital, and East Liverpool City Hospital are coordinating the event. People are encouraged to bring their unwanted drugs to one of the following two collection sites between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on the Challenge Day.

- Salem Medical Center: 2094 E. State Street in Salem, located across from the Salem Community Hospital

- East Liverpool City Hospital: Main entrance at 425 W. Fifth Street.

Ohio's prescription drug abuse problem is an epidemic. In 2007, unintentional drug poisoning became the leading cause of injury and death in Ohio, surpassing motor vehicle crashes and suicide for the first time on record. From 1999 to 2007, Ohio's death rate due to unintentional drug poisonings increased more than 300 percent. The increase in deaths has been driven largely by prescription drug overdoses caused by opioids (pain medications). Prescription opioids are associated with more overdoses than any other prescription or illegal drug, including cocaine and heroin.

Earlier this year, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland signed an executive order that expands the state's role and establishes a more comprehensive, coordinated approach to combating prescription drug abuse across Ohio. "Pain medication, when abused, ceases to treat pain and instead causes it," Strickland said. "Too many lives have been lost and too many people have become lost chasing these pills. Prescription drug abuse is a menace that must be fought with every available tool."

Part of the Governor's Executive Order involves the establishment of the Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force (OPDATF) which is charged with researching the issue and identifying public health, law enforcement, legislative, and additional strategies to reduce the danger of prescription drug abuse in Ohio.

Strickland also called on all doctors and pharmacists to check the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System, a prescription tracking database every time they prescribe or dispense an opioid or opioid derivative (pain medication). All pharmacists report into this system, but only one in five uses the system when filling prescriptions.

What are the goals of the American Medicine Chest Challenge?

To generate unprecedented media attention to the issue of prescription and over-the-counter medicine abuse.

To have all residents in our county look at their medicine cabinets as a potential source for young people to access highly addictive and deadly drugs.

To create a way for adults to anonymously, legally, and safely dispose of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine in the home or at an American Medicine Chest collection site.

Do the medications have to be mine, or can I drop off anyone's?

You can drop off anyone's meds. There is no age requirement, nor do you have to be a resident of Columbiana County.

Do they have to be in original containers?

No, they can be in any type of container or bag. If they are brought to the site in their original containers, please scratch out the identifying information or peel off the labels.

How will the medications be disposed?

Law enforcement agencies are working with WTI to ensure safe disposal. EPA guidelines are being followed. Law enforcement officers will be the only people actually handling the drugs.

For more information about the American Medicine Chest Challenge, please call the MHRS Board office at 330-424-0195, or check out the Board's website:



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