June 13, 2021

East Providence Residents Answer the Call to Help Prevent Prescription Drug Misuse

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On Saturday, April 24, 2021, the DEA, the City of East Providence, the East Providence Police Department, and the East Providence Prevention Coalition (EPPC) provided residents the opportunity to prevent prescription drug misuse and theft by ridding their homes of prescription drugs. The event was held at the East Providence Police Station located at 750 Waterman Ave.

Over 70 community members participated and 7 full boxes were collected for a total of 194 lbs of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. EPPC Executive Director Madeline Marlow had this to say about the event, "We had great community participation with this Spring’s National Drug Take Back Day. I want to especially thank the East Providence Police Department for their continued support with this very important initiative. Take Back Day is an important reminder to check those medicine cabinets for any expired, unused or unwanted medications. Monitoring home medicine cabinets and disposing of medications correctly can have a direct impact on substance misuse in our community, as most individuals, especially teens, who use prescriptions that are not prescribed to them obtain them from a family members or friends medicine cabinet. Thank you, East Providence residents, for doing your part in potentially keeping dangerous substances out of the hands of teens."

This event is held twice a year and the next one will be in October. East Providence residents are encouraged to reach out to the EPPC if they are in need of prescription drug disposal methods, such as free medication mailers or Deterra disposal pouches, between take back events. You can email the EPPC at eppc@eastprovidenceri.gov  or call 401.435.1923 x11190. Other resources include www.preventoverdoseri.org  and www.riprevention.org.  

According to DrugFree.com, 90% of prescription drug addictions begin in the teenage years and Rhode Island has the startling statistic as leading the nation in teens abusing drugs. As many as 1 in 4 teens report taking a prescription drug that was not prescribed to them, with most obtaining them from their parents, friends or family member’s medicine cabinet. In addition, state health officials have seen an increase in teens misusing over-the-counter substances, like Tylenol, to attempt suicide. In an effort to curb this trend, the Coalition has a Count it! Lock it! Drop It! initiative for safe storage and disposal of unwanted prescription medication.

Count It! Is monitoring your medications. Storing them in a safe place, counting them frequently and checking the expiration dates.

Lock It! Refers to the ability to lock up your medications and store them in a place that others may not consider to look. You can request lock bags from local coalitions, including the EPPC!

Drop It! Is dropping off unused and unwanted medications at secure lock box locations found at most RI police stations and many pharmacies. For a list of ones close to you, visit www.riprevention.org 

For more information on proper prescription medication disposal, or to obtain any of the supports referenced in the article, please contact the East Providence Prevention Coalition at eppc@eastprovidenceri.gov

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