By Josh Janney – The Winchester Star
The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office is making medication disposal pouches available to the public in order to prevent abuse of prescribed medication.
Earlier this month, the Sheriff’s Office obtained 400 of the disposal pouches from a grant through the state attorney general’s office. Sheriff Lenny Millholland describes the pouches as easy to use and “safe, efficient and very convenient.”
The sealable pouch system works for pills, liquids and patches. The user of the disposable pouch can add any leftover medications and water to the pouch, which contains active carbon. The carbon in the pouch binds to the active ingredients and breaks the medications down.
According to Millholland, the user will then seal the pouch and safely dispose it in household garbage.
A national survey of U.S. adults who used opioids showed that nearly 6 out of 10 kept leftover opioid medications for future use, according to findings published online June 13, 2016, in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal.
“What happens if you leave [the leftover prescriptions] in your medicine cabinet,” Millholland said. “Do your kids or your grandkids get in there and take a couple here and a couple there? What we are trying to do is make sure that the unused medication doesn’t fall into the hands of people who are not prescribed it.”
A survey from the National Safety Council suggests that when American doctors give their patients narcotic painkillers, 99 percent of them hand out prescriptions that exceed the federally recommended three-day dosage limit, according to a March article from HealthDay News. Nearly one-quarter of these doctors gave out month-long dosages, despite the fact that research has shown that a month’s use of prescription narcotic painkillers can cause brain changes.
The report also states that the problem has reached the point where these highly addictive painkillers — which include commonly prescribed drugs such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin — now account for more drug overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.
“Locally, we are trying to do what we can to get rid of the medications that people have laying around their medicine cabinets or houses,” Millholland said. “Having this available to our citizens with a safe, environmentally responsible way to dispose of unused medications is critical in the fight against prescription drug abuse.”
The Sheriff’s Office also has a “safe and secure” box at its office at 1080 Coverstone Drive where unused medications can be dropped off. Contact or questions can be made at 540-662-6168.