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Drop the drugs for safety
drug drop-off
John Alvarado from Behavioral Health and Recovery Services sorts through prescription medications dropped off at the Cal State Stanislaus booth. - photo by SABRA STAFFORD / The Journal

Hoping to turn the tide of prescription drug abuse, law enforcement and social agencies are asking the public to join the “Drop the Drugs” campaign.

The events, scheduled around Stanislaus County, allow people to drop off their unused prescription and over the counter medications at designated sites, with no questions asked. The agencies involved in the campaign will safely dispose of the drugs, which help the environment and keep the drugs out of the wrong hands, such as children.

Recent studies indicate prescription drug abuse is expanding rapidly among teenagers and young adults.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse revealed in a recent study that of the 12- to 17-year olds questioned, nearly one-third, or 8.7 million said they can get prescription drugs within a day and 4.7 million said they could get them within an hour.

The teens questioned in the study said the most common sources to get the drugs were from their own home, or the medicine cabinets of friends and family.

“Teens are under the illusion that because these drugs are prescribed by a doctor that they are safe, but that is not the case,” said Jeff Godfrey of the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency. “Painkillers are made with opiates, just like heroin and when kids can’t get any more prescription pills, they will turn to the street level drugs to get that high.”

On Wednesday the “Drop the Drugs” campaign set up shop on the California State University, Stanislaus campus.

“We’ve partnered before with the university and felt this was an effective way to increase awareness about the abuse of prescription drugs among young people,” said Jennifer Marsh, coordinator of the alcohol and drug education prevention program at the county Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.

The “Drop the Drugs” campaign is scheduled for two more drop offs. The first is from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Save Mart Supermarket at 2237 Claribel Rd., in Riverbank. The last event is from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Save Mart Supermarket at 801 Oakdale Rd., in Modesto.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.