Kansas officials join Walgreens to combat prescription drug abuse

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt along with other officials launched a new safe medication disposal kiosk at the Walgreens pharmacy located 555 N. Maize Road.

With prescription drug abuse on the rise, officials believe that this is an easier way to get rid of expired medication. Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter hopes it will cut down on what teens call pill parties.

“Where kids will bring whatever prescription drugs they can find and put them all in a bowl and then mix them altogether. Then, at that point, they tell the other kids at the party to grab a handful of pills and start taking them,” said Easter.

Walgreens officials say the latest annual report shows hat 19 million people reported misusing their prescription drugs, and another 14,000 reported doing it for the first time. The goal of the program is to put a dent in those number.

“I think we are taking a nation leading step in giving them an option to do that to help them fight this misuse problem with prescription medication.”

Schmidt said one of the biggest challenges to fighting prescription drug abuse is that the product isn’t smuggled in like heroin or coke, but it is found in every pharmacy.

“A large source of narcotics that are abused, misused, and cause harm to the body are sold legitimately in the first instance,” said Schmidt.

And with those medications disposed of, there is no chance of it being misused.

“They have been in a baggie inside the kitchen drawer. We knew we didn’t went to just throw them away, or whatever, so we were happy there would be something like this to help us out,” said Marilyn Stiffler.

“A lot of these are stimulants, some of them are depressants and they counteract each other which then messes up your system and so you start acting irrational, so you start doing things you normally wouldn’t do,” said Easter.

The drop off box is free to use and is available all hours that Walgreens is open. The kiosks will be located in more than 500 pharmacies across 35 states.

Select Kansas Walgreens with Safe Medication Disposal Kiosks:

Kansas City – 7739 State Avenue

Ottawa – 1445 S. Main Street

Overland Park – 7500 Metcalf Avenue

Wichita – 333 E. Central Avenue; 555 N. Maize Road