Carroll County Taking Action: Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs
Thomson Police Chief Beth Balk and her husband Brian Balk delivering unwanted medications to the sheriffs dept.
(Courtesy of Carol Geary)
Substance use and abuse in Carroll County continues to be a problem, and new trends are emerging putting our youth and our community at risk. The Carroll County Substance Education Coalition and local community partners have been monitoring the local data to identify problems early and take action to address it. In past several years Prescription and Over the Counter Drug use has begun to increase in Carroll County, and local youth report “Easy” access to this as well as other illicit drugs. According to the 2012 Illinois Youth Survey taken by 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th graders in Carroll County, Prescription and OTC drug use/abuse continues to rise in our county and local parents, schools and community leaders need to be aware of the problems facing our teens. As with many small, rural communities, we tend to think that these problems do not happen here, but they do and many times they are even more prevalent because of a lack of awareness. We have to realize that substances of abuse are here just like other larger communities, and in some cases it is even easier for them to get them because we are not paying attention to trends in substance use/abuse.
On June 9, 2012 CCSEC, along with their community partners took action by working with Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful (KNIB) to sponsor a Prescription and OTC drug Take Back Event across multiple counties in Northern Illinois to raise awareness and help our county address this local health issue. Our goal was to educate our community about the risks of Prescription and OTC drugs and help people living in Carroll County properly dispose of unused and unwanted medications in a safe way to protect our youth and our water supply. 177 households participated in Carroll County take back program, and we collected over a half of barrel of unwanted medications as well as other items including a large box of inhalers and liquid medications.
Ryan Lambert, Chadwick Police Chief with AmeriCorp workers Keon Pollard(front) and Eric Rowe(Back).
(Courtesy of Carol Geary)
In the process of planning this event the Carroll County Substance Education Coalition (CCSEC) and community leaders worked together to identify a long term solution to keeping these medications out of reach of our youth and out of the water supply, thanks to the work of the coalition and the generosity of Illinois American Water, we were able to install a permanent take back site located at the Carroll County Sherriff’s Dept. Illinois American Water partners with communities to raise awareness and about the proper disposal of unwanted/unused medications. They have helped implement 29 programs across the state .According to Karen Cotton, spokesperson Illinois American Water, “our goal is to increase awareness about the program and the importance of protecting our youth and our water, which are two of our most important resources.” “It’s amazing”, said Carol Geary C.C.S.E.C. Project Director, “the box was full after just 2 weeks of having it in place and we hadn’t even let everyone know we had it yet.” Even more surprising was the amount of medications that were brought to us on the day of the take back program. Local police and communities across Carroll County assisted in the event by gathering unwanted medications in their community then bringing them to the Sherriff’s Dept for disposal. We were able to collect a lot of unwanted/unused medications and the support we received from those dropped off the medications was tremendous. AmeriCorp volunteers, community leaders, law enforcement and local pharmacies all worked together to assist in the event. Pharmacy Tech, Stephanie Zink helped with the sorting and organizing of the medications that were brought in for disposal, local banks and others helped spread the word about the take back event, and Ken Sandy from the Carroll County Sherriff’s Dept. made sure the medications were transported to the collection site as part of this multi-county event.
We would like to thank everyone who has helped us raise awareness about Prescription and OTC drugs and the need to dispose of them properly. On July 31, 2012, from 11 am-1 pm, the Carroll County Substance Education Coalition (CCSEC) and their local community partners, Illinois American Water who donated the permanent take back container and WCCI will be sponsoring a remote broadcast (including sandwich, chips and beverage) at the Carroll County Sherriff’s dept. to announce the new program. We invite the local community to join us by stopping by for lunch, you can grab a sandwich, thank our sponsors and drop off your unwanted medications. Please join us as we celebrate this accomplishment and say “Thank You” to all those who helped us raise awareness and bring a permanent solution to Carroll County.