Eastern Story County residents turned in their unwanted and unused medications on Saturday, Apr. 29, making the Eastern Story County Drug Drop-off a success. This event was made possible through a partnership between NuCara Pharmacy, Nevada Police Department, YSS of Eastern Story County board and the Story County Prevention Policy board. This event brings awareness to our communities about the issue of medication misuse and abuse. During the two hour long event, 128.5 pounds of unused and unwanted medications were turned in to be safely destroyed.

With the rise of opioid use in the U.S., more people are becoming aware of the concerns related to misuse and abuse of prescription medications. Misuse or abuse of medications is classified by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) as using prescription medications in a way other than prescribed by your doctor, using someone else’s prescription medications, or using the prescription medication to seek a high or euphoria. While this issue is a concern for all, youth and older adults are at greater risk for prescription misuse and abuse.

NIDA states that behind alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, prescription medications are the most commonly used drugs among youth. While males are more likely to misuse medications than women, the number of adolescent females reported to misuse medications exceeds that of adolescent males. These females are also more likely to meet criteria for substance use disorder for prescription medications.

Older adults are at greater risk for misuse of medications for a number of reasons. According to NIDA, older adults are more likely to experience multiple chronic health conditions. Meaning they are more likely to be prescribed more medications. Many older adults take at least one prescription medication daily and at about 50 percent take five or more daily. Also, as people age their bodies metabolize medications differently.

This misuse, intentional or not, can have serious medical consequences. Ridding our homes of unused and outdated medications is one step we can all take to help prevent misuse and abuse of medications. You can turn in your unused and outdated medications to an officer at the Nevada Police Station. NuCara Pharmacies are also able to take back medications through their TakeAway program. For questions about this program please contact your local pharmacist. The Ames Police Department also has a permanent drug drop box located inside the police station entrance. For other recommendations about how to safely dispose of your expired and unused medications, visit the DEA website at http://www.justice.gov/dea/index.shtml.