WICHITA, Kansas – – The use of prescription drugs in on the rise in the United States.
According to a report released by the Mayo Clinic, 70 percent of Americans were taking at least one prescription drug.
Additionally, 20 percent of those surveyed in the report were shown to be taking five or more prescription drugs.
Today across the country, the National drug take back initiative was held.
Here in Wichita, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office set up three different locations, where people could come by and drop off their old or unwanted prescription medications.
Sergeant Scott Plummer with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office says one goal of the initiative was to combat the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse.
“It’s been shown that a lot of drug abuse in the house begins with prescription medications, your young teens have access to it, it’s right there,” said Plummer.
The rise in the use and abuse of prescription drugs has been seen here locally.
Dr. Mwenda Yasa is a Child Psychiatrist with Prairie View in Newton.
He says by the time most people seek treatment, it’s because they’ve already overdosed.
“If I’m on-call that day I might see one or two out of the ten or twenty calls I get,” said Dr. Yasa.
Dr. Yasa added that when treating patients, he tries to drive home the reality that recklessly using these kinds of drugs can be deadly.
“The most important thing is the consequences, they can be tragic sometimes, in some cases they could die,” said Dr. Yasa.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and agencies across the country are hoping to get people to drop off their unused medications so they don’t end up in the wrong hands.
“A big part thing is just get it out of the house so that nobody has the accidental overdose or accidental poisoning or it doesn’t get anybody started down that road of drug abuse,” said Plummer.
Another reason these agencies were hoping to collect these medications is so people wouldn’t throw them away or try flushing them down the toilet.
Plummer says that by flushing them, there is a possibility that they could contaminate ground water systems.
Altogether, through the three locations in Wichita, Plummer says they collect 590 pounds of old prescription medications.