East Texas Substance Abuse Coalition

The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office, Wise Up Rusk County and East Texas Substance Abuse Coalition have partnered to host a Community Prescription Drug Take Back event from 10 a.m. to noon June 28.

During that time, community members can help prevent prescription drug abuse by properly disposing of potentially dangerous, expired, unused or expired prescription drugs at the Mount Enterprise Library. This service is free and anonymous. 

The East Texas Substance Abuse Coalition, a group of concerned community members that work to prevent youth substance abuse, said the initiative addresses a vital public safety and health issue.

“Medicines that sit in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse,” said Lauren Barnes, East Texas Substance Abuse Coalition coordinator. “Also, we’re trying to educate the community to prevent them from getting rid of their unused medications by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, since those are potential safety and environmental hazards.”

Barnes added that prescription drugs should be stored safely in a lock box, not in an open cabinet and properly disposed of when no longer needed.

The availability of prescription controlled substances is especially a problem in East Texas, said Barnes.

Locally, there are more controlled substances prescribed per capita than in the state, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Barnes said the high number of medications being prescribed means there’s greater access for teens to abuse the drugs. 

Sixty-two percent of teens say it’s easy to get prescription drugs form parents’ medicine cabinets, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“Parents could be the accidental drug dealer and not even realize it,” Barnes said. “Safe storage, use and disposal are key in helping prevent teens from abusing prescription drugs.”

In addition to the drug take back events, the public can dispose of their unused medications year-round at the permanent drop box in Henderson at the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office.

For more information on the importance of safe disposal and drop box locations can be found at www.easttexasrx.com.

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