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Drop the Drugs
Event offers disposal of unused medicines
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What: Local agencies will be collecting unused prescription and OTC medications for disposal.
When: 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday
Where: Save Mart parking lot, 2595 Geer Rd. in Turlock

The latest national studies on drug abuse show prescription medicines are rapidly becoming the drug of choice for teenagers.
In an effort to stem the tide of accessibility and to promote environmentally friendly practices, multiple law enforcement and social agencies are joining together for the Drop the Drugs event.
The involved agencies will be collecting unused prescription medications and over the counter medications in their original containers and will properly dispose of them. This is the first large-scale event of this nature in Stanislaus County. The kick-off will be from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the parking lot of the Save Mart supermarket at 2595 Geer Rd. in Turlock.
“This event will accomplish two objectives,” said Jeff Godfrey, an agent with the California Multi-jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Teams. “It is giving people a safe and alternate way to dispose of these medications and it gives us a platform to educate people about prescription drug abuse.”
A study recently conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that more teens are using prescription drugs to get high and that these drugs are easy to obtain. The study asked 12- to 17-year olds how fast they can get prescription drugs and more than 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.
For the second year in a row, teens said prescription drugs were easier to get than beer.
“The abuse of prescription drugs is gaining momentum and is becoming a big problem,” Godfrey said.
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.
“It’s happening at an alarming rate,” said Ruben Imperial, spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Behavioral health and Recovery Services. “Teens are getting it from the people they know. Parents need to safeguard prescription drugs as vigorously as they do their cash and valuables.”
Imperial said many teens abusing prescription drugs are doing so with the presumption that it’s a safe way to get high.
“They have the mindset that the drugs are not dangerous because it’s prescribed by a doctor or they think it’s not addictive,” Imperial said. “In fact, it’s just the opposite.”
A single large dose of prescription or over the counter painkillers or depressants can cause breathing difficulty that can lead to death. Even in small doses, depressants and painkillers have subtle effects on motor  skills, judgment, and the ability to learn.
The rate of addiction is also high Godfrey said and often leads to abusing even stronger drugs.
“Once they cross that threshold where they are using it like an illicit drug, then it’s not a big leap to start on heroin,” Godfrey said.
Not only are prescription drugs potentially harmful in the wrong hands, they pose an environmental threat when not properly disposed.
Drugs that are flushed down the toilet cannot be entirely removed by the sewage treatment plant or septic system. The chemicals are released into waterways and absorbed into the surface and groundwater. Recent environmental samples have found traces of pharmaceuticals in treated wastewater, rivers, lakes, groundwater, soil and fish tissue.
“We have to curtail it now before it gets worse,” Imperial said.
The Drop the Drugs event will only be accepting prescription or over the counter medications. People dropping off illegal drugs will be subject to arrest, Godfrey said.
For more information about the Drop the Drugs call 525-6201 or visit
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.