Taylor University students have organized a Prescription Drug Take Back Day collection to encourage parents, grandparents and the whole community to clean out unneeded and expired prescription drugs from their medicine cabinets.
The collection will take place next Saturday, November 21, at Neighborhood Fresh Market, 1025 E. Main St., in Gas City. According to event organizers, nearly half a dozen community partners are promoting the event to provide a convenient and safe means of disposal and to educate the community about the potential for abuse of prescribed medications.
One of the event’s partners is Marion General Hospital (MGH). “We are so pleased to partner with Taylor University for this take back event,” said Kate Lyons, MGH’s assistant director for PR/Marketing. “The efforts of this group will protect our community by helping prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths through an avenue of safe disposal.”
Also partnering in the Take Back Day is the Grant County CORE group, Indiana Wesleyan University, Hope House and Will Hobick Design.
This effort is a finale to an educational campaign regarding opioid addiction in Grant County. Dr. Donna Downs’s PR Cases and Campaigns class has worked with MGH’s Community Opioid REsponse (CORE) group this semester to inform Grant County residents of the opioid crisis. “The Drug Take Back Day idea was initiated by sophomore Claire Nieshalla,” Downs said. “She led a successful effort in her hometown of Zionsville a couple of years ago and hoped the idea would follow her to college.”
Nieshalla approached MGH in September with the proposal for a Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and they voted unanimously to support the event. “I am grateful for the support of MGH to make this concentrated effort to clean out our medicine cabinets a reality in our community,” Nieshalla said. “This is a big call out to our community to bring our leftover and expired prescription medicines to the Take Back Day and avoid the possibility of those drugs ever being abused.”
Nieshalla pointed to a national statistic that, “misuse of prescription drugs is highest among young adults ages 18 to 25, with 14.4 percent reporting nonmedical use in the past year. Among youth ages 12 to 17, 4.9 percent reported past-year nonmedical use of prescription medications” (drugabuse.gov).
Taylor University Police Chief Jeff Wallace has also been involved from the beginning and has played an integral part in seeing the event through. He said he believes in the community impact of the Prescription Drug Take Back effort.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity to partner with the students, because I think it addresses a significant and real problem we have in Grant County and Gas City,” Wallace said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to make a difference, and I think it's a great opportunity to improve lives and obviously I think right now in our world, anything we can do that can improve lives is a huge thing. And I love the collaborative piece. The more people that come together, the more impact it can have.”
Those who drop off medications at the collection site must be 18 years or older, and over-the-counter drugs will also be accepted. Those coming to the drop-off will be greeted by Nieshalla and student volunteers from Taylor University, along with officers from Marion, Gas City and Indiana Wesleyan Police Departments. Nieshalla said all medicines received in the take back will be will be disposed of in a safe manner.