Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Prescription Drug Roundups in Oklahoma Target Tough Problem

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Prescription Drug Roundups in Oklahoma Target Tough Problem

Article excerpt

Greg Mashburn is on a quest to prevent prescription drug abuse. The district attorney of Cleveland, Garvin and McClain counties said he realized there was something he could do to help prevent prescription drug abuse after listening to an Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics presentation. So he teamed up with Cleveland County Sheriff Joe Lester to set up a collection drive for expired medications.

While he said he has seen success with educating people in the community, he still has trouble getting to the proverbial dealer. Some doctors are hesitant to use the OBN's voluntary computer database that could help prevent abuse.

Many people don't know what to do with expired prescriptions, so pills can end up in a forgotten stockpile in a medicine cabinet. Flushing old drugs down the toilet isn't advisable. Chemicals aren't filtered out by municipal water treatment plants and can contaminate the water supply. Throwing expired medication in the trash could make people a target for burglars, Mashburn said.

"We have burglars who aren't looking for valuables, just looking through medicine cabinets," Mashburn said. "They are targeting older people. The first thing, go through trash to not break into houses."

In the past year, the Cleveland County sheriff's office has collected 1,057 pounds of medications through the quarterly prescription drug roundup program, said spokeswoman Meghan McCormick. In the last roundup two weeks ago, Lester and Mashburn collected more than 200 pounds of prescriptions.

The OBN has also helped to implement a drop-box program. The agency has purchased old mailboxes and bolted them to the floor in police departments and sheriffs offices around the state. By the end of the summer, the agency will have installed 150, with at least one in every county, OBN spokesman Mark Woodward said.

Since the agency started the drop-box program in 2011, the OBN has collected more than 15 tons of expired prescriptions, from addictive narcotics and opiates like hydrocodone and oxycodone to over-the-counter antacids. …

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