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Drug Take Back: A Com­mu­ni­ty Initiative

By: Eric Bara­nows­ki, KYC’s Sub­stance Use Pre­ven­tion Ser­vices (SUPS) Team Lead


With Nation­al Recov­ery Month in our rearview mir­ror and with the win­ter months on the hori­zon, now more than ever is a good time to rec­og­nize the impor­tance of using safe pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tion prac­tices. Dur­ing the cold­er months, so many peo­ple suf­fer from sea­son­al depres­sion. As we begin to cope with the feel­ings that come with cold weath­er, it’s impor­tant to address how our med­ica­tions prac­tices can keep our com­mu­ni­ty safe. 

Since the pan­dem­ic start­ed, feel­ings of anx­i­ety and depres­sion have cer­tain­ly increased. Nir­mi­ta Pan­chal of the Amer­i­can Coun­sel­ing Asso­ci­a­tion states that today, 1 in 4 Amer­i­can adults report feel­ings of anx­i­ety or depres­sion. Peo­ple are feel­ing stressed, and the rate of using sub­stances to cope is increas­ing too. In the same study, Pan­chal reports that 13% of U.S. adults report­ed a new or increase in Sub­stance Use due to COVID-19-relat­ed stress. While the data is alarm­ing, it hits home at the com­mu­ni­ty level. 

Accord­ing to the 2020 Illi­nois Youth Sur­vey of 8th, 10th, and 12th-grade stu­dents in Cook Coun­ty Non-Chicago: 

  • 9% report there is lit­tle to no risk when using pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tions not pre­scribed to them. 
  • 20% report it would be sort of,” or very,” easy to get pre­scrip­tion drugs not pre­scribed to them. 
  • 52% report their par­ents have not talked with them about using opi­oids for non-med­ical reasons. 

There is a lack of infor­ma­tion for stu­dents to learn about the impli­ca­tions of using pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tions for non-med­ical rea­sons. It starts with safe med­ica­tion prac­tices at home: use med­ica­tions as direct­ed; store med­ica­tions safe­ly; dis­pose of med­ica­tions properly. 

With more adults strug­gling with men­tal health, the safe use of pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tions must be part of the con­ver­sa­tion. Drug Take Back Day is a nation­wide ini­tia­tive that pro­motes safe dis­pos­al of pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tion. Occur­ring in Octo­ber and April every year, Drug Take Back Day aims to pro­vide a con­ve­nient way for peo­ple to dis­pose of their pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tion, instead of hav­ing moun­tains of emp­ty or expired pill bot­tles in their med­i­cine cabinets.

Take Back Bin

Twice a year, Ken­neth Young Cen­ter part­ners with the Elk Grove Police Depart­ment to pro­mote the ini­tia­tive. This year on Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 23rd, from 10 AM — 2 PM, meet us out there again! Last year we col­lect­ed 115 pounds of med­ica­tions. While we’re there, we share the mes­sage that med­ica­tions can be dropped off year-round, not just twice a year. We have a col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Pala­tine Police Depart­ment in the works and are plan­ning to be at that loca­tion on the same day, at the same time. 

While we love to show our sup­port by being out in our com­mu­ni­ty, we are work­ing to obtain our own drop-box at our Elk Grove office, locat­ed on Rohlwing Road, in hopes of mak­ing the event more acces­si­ble. This ini­tia­tive can only grow stronger and make our com­mu­ni­ty safer with more com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers involved.

We would love to see you on Octo­ber 23rd, so please be on the look­out for more infor­ma­tion by fol­low­ing our Com­mu­ni­ties for Pos­i­tive Youth Devel­op­ment Coali­tion pages (@cpyd.coalition) on Insta­gram, Face­book, and Twit­ter.

Feel free to email the Sub­stance Use Pre­ven­tion Ser­vices Team with any ques­tions at [email protected]​kennethyoung.​org or vis­it cpy​d​coali​tion​.org/​d​r​u​g​-​t​a​k​e​-back.

Sources:

Pan­chal, N., Kamal, R., & Cox, C. (2021). The Impli­ca­tions of COVID-19 for Mental 

Health and Sub­stance Use. Kaiser Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion. Pub­lished. https://​www​.kff​.org/​c​o​r​o​n​aviru…

KYC 50 Logos 50 GLD BRST

As KYC celebrates 50 years of service to our communities, we're honored to highlight 50 stories, events, and initiatives like Drug Take Back Day through our #KYC50For50 campaign.


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