The prescription medicines problem


To the Editor:

We are very concerned about the recent spate of break-ins for prescription drugs. Historically, our community has experienced high levels of drinking, drugging, and driving under the influence.

The Health Conditions and Health Status Report Martha’s Vineyard (2006) found a 21 percent higher incidence of mental health and substance abuse issues on the Vineyard, as compared with the rest of the state. Among its 16,000 year-round residents 31 percent reported drinking five drinks or more on one occasion, and 14 percent report having had an episode of depression, compared to 6-10 percent nationally. (Becker and Silberstein, 2006, p. 43-47).

Until recently few services existed for those who wished to pursue recovery. Thanks to a grant from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services’ Island Counseling Center (ICC) now has a structured outpatient addictions program that offers intensive services five days per week for those in early recovery. The New Paths Recovery Program has already treated more than 60 Island residents in its first six months of operation.

Island Counseling is committed to making a positive impact on the Island’s drug problem by not prescribing addictive medications to those who would be better serviced by counseling and recovery services.

Medication treatment through ICC is only available when appropriate as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

For disposal of the prescription medication that so many of us take, we would like you to know the Federal Prescription Drug Disposal Guidelines jointly released by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency. They are:Take unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers.

To prevent others from using these substances, mix them with coffee grounds or kitty litter and throw them away in a sealed container.

Flush prescription drugs down the toilet only if the label instructs you to do so.

We hope this information is helpful to those who were not sure how to dispose of old and no longer needed medications. For further information please go

Nancy Langman

Vineyard Haven