Prescription drug ‘take-back’ day to protect community

By: Joanna Jullien, Special to The Placer Herald
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This Saturday, residents have a place to safety drop off unused or expired medications. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 25, Rocklin residents can drop off medications at Whitney High School located at 701 Wildcat Blvd. This countywide prescription drug “take-back” event is organized by the Coalition for Placer Youth. It is part of a national effort to prevent increased pill abuse and theft by collecting expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs, and keeping these medications from being disposed of into the sewer system. Rocklin resident Christy Crandell is a co-founder of Full Circle Treatment Center in Roseville and a founding member of the Coalition for Placer Youth. She knows first-hand the pain and anguish of loosing a child to drug addiction. She and her son Ryan, who is now recovered from teenage addiction and is serving time in Folsom prison for crimes he committed three weeks after his 18th birthday while trying to maintain his drug habit, have devoted their lives to the prevention and intervention of teenage drug addiction. Crandell was a stay at home mom. Her husband coached the kids’ sports teams. Her family was living the American dream in a very nice neighborhood. Crandell considers herself lucky that her son emerged from addiction as a young man with desire and commitment to contribute to society. She wants to help parents avoid the tragedy she and her family endured because she said drugs are too easy for kids to secure and keep secret from parents. “My son was abusing (medicine) and this simply wasn’t on my radar,” she said. “Guard your medicine cabinet just like you would your liquor cabinet or gun cabinet – your child’s safety may depend on it.” Sergeant John Weaver, with the Placer County Sheriff Department, oversees the youth services division. “I would estimate we have seen an increase of prescription drug cases of about 15 percent over the past few years,” said Weaver and he provided the elements of a perfect storm gathering as an ominous threat to youth in our community: • It’s free 95 percent of the time. Walk in and take it out of the medicine cabinet. • There is a false sense of safety because a doctor prescribes it. • Many find themselves charged with a felony. Giving away Vicodin to friend with a headache constitutes “Sales of a Controlled Substance.” • Great risk of addiction and death. They are abusing them to get high. They are mixing them with other drugs and alcohol for the purpose of self-enjoyment. Many times this results in overdoses. • And, finally, money pressures. The classic drug dealer takes parents’ prescriptions and sells it for profit. This trend correlates with the statistics released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – that the proportion of all substance abuse treatment admissions of those aged 12 and older involving abuse of prescription pain relievers rose by more than 400 percent from 2.2 percent in 1998 to 9.8 percent in 2008. Last Saturday, the Youth Commission of Placer County mobilized a flash mob at the Hot Chili & Cool Cars event in Rocklin to call attention to the prescription drug take back event out of concern for their peers who are abusing other people’s medicine, and for the environment. “The medication take-back day is important because prescription drug abuse is an issue in the community and the take-back is a step toward an environmentally safer solution for people to get rid of drugs they don’t need,” said youth commission member Andrew Burrows, a Roseville teenager who attends Jesuit High School. The prescription take-back event is staged in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, Placer County Environmental Engineering, Placer County Health and Human Services and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Participants are asked to remove labels from the bottles, or to make any personal information, such as names, address, phone number, birth date, unreadable for privacy reasons. Joanna Jullien is a local freelance writer and a founding member of the Coalition for Placer Youth. She can be reached at Drop-off locations in Placer County: Whitney High School, 701 Wildcat Boulevard, Rocklin Sierra College, Parking Lot D (Rocklin Road side), 5000 Rocklin Road, Rocklin Woodcreek High School, 2551 Woodcreek Oaks Blvd., Roseville Oakmont High School, 1710 Cirby Way, Roseville Roseville High School, 1 Tiger Way, Roseville Granite Bay High School, 1 Grizzley Way, Granite Bay Lincoln Police Department, 770 7th St., Lincoln Colfax Sheriff Sub-Station, 33 N. Main St., Colfax S. Placer Sheriff Sub-Station, 6140 Horseshoe Bar Road, Loomis Antelope High School, 7801 Titan Drive, Antelope Auburn City Hall, 1255 Lincoln Way, Auburn Kings Beach Clinic, front parking lot, 8650 Salmon St., Kings Beach