A new ‘RX Dropbox’ located at Parker Police Department is proving to be a success.
The box, which accepts expired and unused medication to dispose of, is part of a broader movement to try to combat prescription drug abuse, and restrict teenagers’ access to them.
Parker Police Chief Clay Romo is in charge of the dropbox, which has been there for about a month and was part of an initiative of the PAACE Coalition. The police department oversees the proper disposal of its contents. The box was provided at no cost to Parker by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
“We’ve had quite a bit turned in,” Clay told Parker Live. “People don’t have to speak to anybody, they just need to come and read the instructions of what we take and don’t take. The response has been very good.”
He added that the box does not accept liquids, which some people have dropped off anyway, saying that makes it harder for the PD to process them.
“It is completely free and anonymous,” said Melissa Wright at PAACE. “All you need to do is walk into the foyer of the Parker PD and drop your medication in the box. Remove the label or black out the name on the prescription bottle but leave the meds in the bottle.”
The box does not take needles, aerosols and a few other things, but accepts all kinds of prescription pills, patches, ointments, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, samples and pet meds.
PAACE is now working with local healthcare prescribers and pharmacists on how best to educate the community regarding proper disposal, as prescriptions rank highly for teen drug abuse.
“Of the 45 prescribers in La Paz County, only 16 are signed up to the Controlled Substance Prescription Monitoring Program and only 9 of those are actually using the program at all,” Melissa said. “The CSPMP is a program that allows doctors to check a patient’s prescription medication history. They can see any medication another doctor has prescribed to them and this system is updated every 24 hours.”
Signup to the CSPMP is legally mandated for use with every patient, and aimed at stopping drug abuse. Melissa said everybody was working well together to benefit young people and the wider community in La Paz County.
In addition to the dropbox and working with prescribers, initiatives include education about how to properly use and store prescriptions in the home, increased awareness of the problem of prescription drug abuse, working with young people and promoting treatment services, according to the Arizona Substance Abuse Partnership.