For nearly a two year period, The Alliance of Southwest Missouri’s Safe Teens initiative, along with partnering agencies, individuals, and organizations, have worked to secure permanent prescription and over-the-counter medication drop box locations for area residents. To further assist in this effort, Missouri American Water has awarded The Alliance of Southwest Missouri a grant in the amount of $4,500, with an additional $1,500 from their local Joplin operation.
The Alliance was one of six 2012 grant recipients selected by Missouri American Water. Funds will be used to purchase a cyclonic incinerator to facilitate proper disposal of these medications, thus reducing environmental risk factors, including water contamination.
Aside from environmental factors, improper disposal and storage of prescription medications can result in other serious problems. In residential settings, drugs are often stored in medicine cabinets. When these prescriptions and medications are no longer needed, there are few options for safe disposal and the medications are often forgotten. Home medicine cabinets are the most popular source for teens to obtain prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America website, children 12-17 years old abuse prescription drugs more than they abuse ecstasy, crack/cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines combined. There are as many new prescription drug abusers ages 12 to 17 as there are marijuana users. These statistics are alarming when considering the ease of access to prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
The Alliance of Southwest Missouri supports community coalitions in Carthage, Neosho, and the Joplin area that focus on the well-being of teens in our communities. These coalitions, covering the geographical boundaries of Jasper and Newton counties, seek to provide leadership, education, and resources to prevent and address substance abuse and other unhealthy choices.
In collaboration with the Neosho, Joplin, Webb City, Carl Junction, Lamar, and Carthage Police Departments, as well as the Jasper and Newton County Sheriff’s Departments, these coalitions are providing an opportunity for individuals to safely dispose of medications that are no longer being used, and thereby reducing the accessibility to teens. The Alliance has received approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to participate in the Prescription Drug Take Back Program.
Permanent drop box locations are:
- Carl Junction Police Dept. - 302 N. Main St.
- Carthage Police Dept. - 310 W. 4th St.
- Jasper County Courthouse - 601 S. Pearl Ave., Joplin
- Joplin Police Dept. - 303 E. 3rd St. & 115 E. 34th St.
- Lamar Police Dept. - 1106 Broadway
- Newton County Sheriff’s Dept. - 208 W. Coler, Neosho
- Webb City Police Dept. - 211 W. Broadway
For more information about The Alliance of Southwest Missouri, go here.