By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Garfield County Drug and Alcohol Coalition is increasing its efforts to combat prescription drug abuse, a growing problem throughout the state.
One of the priorities of the group is ensuring safe disposal of prescription medications in the community, not only by individuals, but also by group care providers, in-patient care agencies, hospices and other such organizations.
“Of the 77 counties in Oklahoma, the current data ranks Garfield County as the 28th in opiod analgesics death,” said Dena Patterson, with Enid PreventionWorkz. “The GCDA coalition is very concerned about this high rate, and has voted to focus on safe disposal as a strategy to reduce the number of deaths.”
The coalition will meet at 5:30 p.m. March 28 at Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid, Room 114, with community leaders and key stakeholders to discuss safe disposal and written policies, which are in place across Garfield County.
Safe disposal methods recommended by EPA, White House and FDA also will be discussed during the meeting. All of those interested in attending may do so.
“There is a lot of flushing of medications going on in our community,” Patterson said. “We want to make sure they are not going into our water system.”
Each year, the Drug Enforcement Agency hosts drug take-back programs across the United States.
This year’s Drug Take Back Day will coincide with the 38th annual Enid Homes Show. A table will be set up 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27 at an entrance to the show.
Demand Reduction Program Manager Yvonne Lewis-Odom, with Vance Air Force Base’s Drug Demand Reduction Program, said she wanted to thank Robert Bodick, who also works with the base’s program.
“Without him we wouldn’t be able to do half the positive things that we have done over the past three years,” she said.
Thanks also is due to Autry Technology Center’s graphic design students, who have produced posters and other media promoting safe drug disposal, Patterson said.
“Autry Technology Center students created posters on safe disposal that GCDA coalition will be placing throughout the county,” Patterson said. “We’ve also been working with some of the pharmacies in the county about including materials on their bags about the locations of permanent drop-off sites.”
Enid Police Department, 301 W. Garriott, and Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, 114 W. Broadway, both have permanent prescription drug drop-off boxes in their lobbies, donated and emptied by Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
For those who cannot make it to a take-back event or the drop boxes in Enid, Patterson said prescription medications should be taken from their original containers, mixed with an undesirable material, such as cat litter or coffee grounds, and the mixture put into a disposable container with a lid, such as a butter tub, or a sealed bag.
Personal information, including prescription numbers, should be removed from prescription containers. The mixtures and containers can then be placed in the trash.
“We really want them to try to utilize the take-back event and drop-off boxes,” Patterson said.
People with questions about the safe disposal program or who want to volunteer can do so by contacting Patterson by phone at (580) 234-1046, via email preventionworkz.dena@ gmail.com or by going to PreventionWorkz at 1710 Willow, Suite 12.