Guest Column: Do you know what and where the local drug drop box is?

In 2014, YouthThink joined with The Dalles Police Department and Mid-Columbia Medical Center to place a Free Drug Drop Box inside the business office of The Dalles Police Station.

That special box made it easy for anyone to drop off their unused, expired or unwanted medications and prescription drugs.

Even pet medications are accepted. No questions asked.

Since that time, Kendra Raiser, who manages the drop box said, “I empty the drop box at least once a week, and it is usually overflowing. I see a time soon when we will empty it twice a week. The program is very successful. One recurring scenario is families cleaning out a variety of prescription drugs after the death of a family member.”

This one simple tool is helping our community properly dispose of unwanted medicines. That helps reduce the overall unlawful accessibility of harmful drugs, especially for our youth, and assists in protecting our rivers and streams by providing a safe and convenient disposal method.

Prescription drug abuse has quickly emerged as the most rapidly increasing form of substance abuse.

Now everyone can easily play a role in reducing the availability of these potentially dangerous drugs.

Our country is in the midst of a devastating loss of life. On an average week, 637 Americans lose their life due to opioid overdose. If that loss of life were from two commercial airlines crashing with no survivors every week, people would notice and demand reform.

As a community, we can do our part by paying attention and making sure that our medications are kept in a secure place, and do our part in disposing of those medications responsibly when they are no longer needed.

At YouthThink we wanted to do our part in helping provide a convenient disposal location, and our partnership with the City of The Dalles Police Department has been great.

Opioids come in many forms — heroin and prescription pain medications.

There are many strategies that we must address to combat the harmful results of substance misuse, which also includes alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, and the simple act of decreasing their access to youth and others who are struggling with addiction is an important role we can all play.

— Debby Jones is the YouthThink Prevention Specialist for Wasco County. She can be reached at 541-506-2673, or at debbyj@co.wasco.or.us.

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