They’re something we all have but rarely think about — prescription drugs, which are often not completely finished, and they are left in the medicine cabinet to expire. Partnership Carson City hosted a prescription drug roundup on April 25 when 166 pounds of prescription pills and liquids were eliminated and 30 pounds of syringes were collected to be destroyed.
When asked why she thinks this is important, Partnership Carson City volunteer Tish Carpenter said, “It keeps it out of the water system and out of the high school.”
Medications that are flushed down a toilet or sink have the potential of getting into our water supply. Many cities have water treatment centers that are not able to filter out all kinds of prescription drugs, leaving small amounts in the water even after treatment.
A deputy reserve officer is on site at the roundups to observe the collection. After the collection, the reserve must take the drugs back to the Carson City Sheriff’s Office to be weighed. From there, the pills are transported to Reno, where the reserve meets with a Drug Enforcement Agency officer who takes the prescription drugs to Crow’s Landing, Calif., to be incinerated. The drugs cannot be donated, as they’re a controlled substance. However, the prescription drug roundup does accept drugs that are not prescription and not expired. These are taken to FISH, whose staff decides what to do with them.
According to Larry Pinson, Americans consume 60 percent of all manufactured drugs in the world. This can, in part, be contributed to the fact America is the only country in the world, besides New Zealand, that allows commercials for medicines to be shown on television. More people die yearly in Clark County from prescription drug overdoses than from car accidents and illegal drug overdoses combined.
Prescription drugs can be destroyed at home by mixing them with coffee grounds in a Ziploc bag, smashing them, and disposing of the entire bag into the garbage. A video demonstration is available on the Partnership Carson City website, www.partnershipcarsoncity.org. Drugs can also be taken to the Carson City Sheriff’s Office and handed to a deputy to be disposed of properly.
Emily Ammerman is a sophomore at Carson High School. She is also a journalist for Partnership Carson City. Emily plans to pursue a career in journalism and improve her writing abilities.