As of Tuesday, September 4, 2018
KAMIAH In an effort to reduce access to opioids and other prescription drugs which have the potential for being abused, Upriver Youth Leadership Council (UYLC) is hoping to ensure unused medicines are secure. Through a grant from the Idaho Office of Drug Policy they will provide free prescription medication lock boxes to community members to keep their medications – and kids who might try them – safe.
Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem, most particularly among teens. Teens often do not realize the dangers of different medications, believing that since the medications were prescribed by a doctor, they must be safe. They are easy to obtain, as most homes contain medication in their cabinets. According to FACE, the Prevention Resource Group, “Every day 2,500 youth from ages 12-17 abuse prescription painkillers for the first time.”
Sharlene Johnson, UYLC president, said while she and others understand this effort won’t end the opioid epidemic, it will bring awareness.
“It’s not a solution by any means,” Johnson said. “It’s more of a preventative measure. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly half of young people who inject heroin abused prescription opioids first. Keeping medication locked up at home can help. Reducing access to prescription drugs that have the potential for being misused can prevent future abuse.”
“Today, just about every Kamiah family has been touched by the opioid epidemic in one way or another. It’s a good way to be able to start opening the lines of communication to talk about this,” Johnson said. “Let’s not just be in the dark about it. It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort to try to reverse the trend.”
UYLC was founded in 2017, representatives include youth, parents, businesses, media, school personnel, library staff, law enforcement, religious groups, health care workers, local government and substance abuse specialists.
Prescription medication lock boxes can be obtained free of charge at the UYLC office at 413 Main Street in Kamiah. For information about receiving a free prescription medication lock box or other UYLC activities, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at https://upriveryouth.org.