A Comprehensive Approach
Every day, 2500 teens use a prescription drug to get high for the first time. And in York County, 10% of our high school youth said they had used pain medicine without a prescription (Maine Youth Integrated Health Survey, 2017). And, we know that 70% of people who abuse painkillers get them from a relative or friend (CDC, 2011).
Our work is to help parents understand the dangers, doctors help patients use prescriptions wisely and all of us restrict youth access to legal drugs as well as illegal. Also, because of the heroin overdoses among young adults in our area, we work with others in our communities to help the public understand the connection between youth prescription opioid abuse and later heroin abuse. In May 2015, CTBH was a part of two community forums on the growth of the heroin problem in Maine.
Med Return Boxes and Drug Take Back Days
The Choose To Be Healthy area has 6 MedReturn Drop boxes for 24/7 safe and anonymous disposal at the following police departments:
- South Berwick
The Maine Sheriffs’ Association, the National Drug Enforcement Agency, our local DEA Agent and our local police departments work together to coordinate the disposal of unwanted medicine twice a year at local Drug Take Back Days. CTBH helps promote and fund this effort.
Guidelines For Safe Home Disposal
You can also follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in the household trash:
1. Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds;
2. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag;
3. Throw the container in your household trash;
4. Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or empty medicine packaging to make it unreadable, then dispose of the container
The Maine PMP is a secure online database that allows doctors and their staff to monitor patients’ use of opioids and other medicines that can be abused. CTBH staff can assist healthcare providers in using the PMP effectively.
This free online video educates parents through the true stories of several families whose children began their struggles with addiction with pill abuse. This video has been shared at our local schools as part of parent education nights and orientation to athletic seasons.
This program from the CDC educates young parents in the importance of keeping medicines away from their children.
Choose To Be Healthy works with real estate agents to customize flyers to give out to consumers to warn about safeguarding their medications during a real estate open house.
On May 6, 2016, the Maine Opiate Collaborative announced the recommendations of its three Task Forces organized around the topics of Treatment, Prevention/Harm Reduction and Law Enforcement. The Opiate Collaborative was established late last year by U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty, Attorney General Janet Mills and Commissioner of Public Safety John Morris. The three Task Forces were chaired by volunteers, people in recovery and experts in addiction, treatment, law enforcement officers and others.
As part of the Task Force charge, the group conducted more than 20 community forums across Maine attended by more than 1500 people. MeHAF and the Maine Community Foundation provided funding to the Maine Medical Association for their work to support to the Collaborative. In particular, foundation funding was largely directed toward supporting the community forums. The Task Force summary recommendations draw on the comments and recommendations made by the public.
RX Drug Abuse Education
We also have educational materials, lesson plans and DVDs to share with school teachers.
Michelle Mason at 207-351-2669