The Times West Virginian

Opinion

April 23, 2013

Drop off all your unused drugs and help clean up major problem

Can you imagine how many pills there are in 100 pounds of pills?

How about 130 pounds? That’s what the Marion County Substance Abuse Coalition, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Fairmont and White Hall police departments, claim they received from the public at the last Drug Take-Back Day.

One hundred pounds of pills — that’s thousands upon thousands of pills.

As the Times West Virginian reported last week, that translates into many prescriptions that cannot be abused.

As most everyone should be aware by now, the abuse of prescription drugs is one of the major problems in our country these days. Teenagers — and the majority of the abusers are young people — often aren’t getting these drugs from your ordinary dealers on the streets. They’re coming from a bottle in the house or from a well-meaning family member.

Some of these well-meaning citizens unknowingly become involved when these teens — who try to fool people by knocking on senior citizens’ doors and requesting to use their bathroom — steal all the prescription drug bottles in the medicine cabinet.

Debbie Mann, coordinator of the Drug Take-Back Day, explained that these events have been held for several years and have been fairly successful.

There are probably some reasons the average person wouldn’t realize why a Drug Take-Back Day is important.

A major one is safety. Mann said burglaries and robberies have significantly increased, and the drug epidemic is cited as the reason.

And as difficult as it is to believe, drug overdoses and deaths from prescription drugs are two more in a long series of items where West Virginia ranks No. 1 in the nation.

In fact, West Virginia leads the way in the number of prescriptions written per capita each year.

There are probably statistics for everything, and the stats for this show the Mountain State as No. 1 in the country with an 18.3 average. The national average is 11.8.

All these figures strongly reveal that we have a lot of cleaning up to do in West Virginia in the prescription drug department.

Marion County residents can help the situation by dropping off all unused drugs at the Fairmont Police Department, Rider Pharmacy or White Hall Pharmacy between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday. In fact, the Fairmont and White Hall police departments will take them any time during normal business hours.

The more pills we turn in now, the fewer pills there are out there for the estimated 2,500 teenagers who begin the dangerous habit each day.

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