Youth Task Force teams up with Oak Bluffs to fight prescription drug abuse

Youth Task Force coordinator Theresa Manning and Oak Bluffs Police Chief Eric Blake stand next to a new drug drop off box installed in the station. — Photo courtesy of Theresa Mannin

The Martha’s Vineyard Youth Task Force (YTF) has bolstered its efforts to combat prescription drug abuse by placing prescription drug bags labeled with useful tips and a prescription disposal drop box in the Oak Bluffs Police station.

“As part of our ongoing efforts, the Youth Task Force is working to raise awareness around prescription drug abuse in our community and to help make the medication disposal boxes more accessible,” said Theresa Manning, MV Youth Task Force Co-Coordinator, “it’s crucially important to do everything we can to keep un-prescribed drugs out of the hands of our youth.”

The newly-introduced pharmacy bags outline ways in which adults can help prevent prescription drug abuse among youth, highlighting the importance of closely monitoring prescriptions, keeping them in a secure location, and disposing of them properly in local drop boxes.

Oak Bluffs joins Vineyard Haven and Edgartown as the third Police Department to host a secure location for community members to dispose of unused and expired medications, according to a press release. Medications discarded in Island drop boxes are transported to a state drug laboratory for proper disposal.

The FDA suggests that medicine take-back programs are the best way to ensure proper disposal of expired or unused prescription drugs. Improper disposal (for example, flushing medications down the toilet or rinsing them down the sink) can be hazardous to the environment. Leaving expired or unused medications unsecured in the home can often lead to misuse and abuse.

While lower than national averages, prescription drug abuse among Island youth has doubled within the past two years, according to a recent Youth Task Force Survey.

“We hope all Island residents will become aware of the drop boxes and find the tips provided on the pharmacy bags useful,” Ms. Manning said. “As always, we’d love for this to be a community effort. We truly appreciate the support and participation we’ve received from local police departments and pharmacies, both crucial players in this effort.”

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