Guest column

Rockville Centre Youth Council warns of dangers that lurk in medicine cabinets


I am an adult member of the Rockville Centre Youth Council. We are on a mission to inform the community of the dangers that unused or expired prescription drugs can pose. Prescription drug abuse is a major problem in our country. Unused or expired prescriptions should not be left in medicine cabinets.

Many drugs in people’s medicine cabinets are dangerous if not taken correctly and/or without a doctor’s prescription. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, four out of five heroin users started on prescription drugs. This is a staggering number. Keeping unused or expired prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet is a recipe for disaster.

Here are a few takeaways from the National Institute of Health and the Drug Enforcement Administration

—4.9 percent of youth between the ages of 12 to 17, reported non-medical use of prescription drugs. (NIH)

—14.4 percent of 18 to 25 year olds reported non-medical use of prescription drugs in the year 2017. (NIH)

—17.8  percent of high school students have taken a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription. Many of the students get these drugs from their parents’ or friend’s medicine cabinets without the knowledge of these adults. (DEA)

The Rockville Centre Youth Council is one sector of the Rockville Centre Coalition for Youth. There are many sectors of the Coalition. The NY National Guard Counterdrug Task Force is another sector. At a recent meeting with the National Guard, the council discussed the Deterra drug deactivation system (Deterra pouches), which are an easy way for people to dispose of unused or expired medication. The National Guard put the council in contact with the Long Island Prevention Resource Center, which graciously offered to give us Deterra pouches.

Per the pouches’ instructions, an individual should put their medicine in the pouch and mix it with water. The medicine can then be thrown in the garbage. This eliminates the risk of the medicine getting into the wrong hands and it has the added benefit of being an environmentally-friendly way to dispose of it.

The council has distributed pouches to Macken Mortuary, the Rockville Centre Library, the Sandel Center and other places in the community.

A Deterra drug deactivation system can be purchased online, through Amazon, as well as directly from the company.  Another resource to dispose of your medicine is the Rockville Centre Police Department, with its headquarters at 34 Maple Ave. The department has a drop box, which is available to the public. One can walk in any time. Only prescription drugs can be dropped at the police station.

It is imperative for people to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs. Something this simple can help save a life or prevent an individual from the excruciating battle of addiction. The life you save may be your child’s, your grandchild’s or your friends’.


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