Seniors around town will have a special opportunity to safely dispose of prescription medications next Tuesday when the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth and the Riverhead Police Department will conduct a special ‘mobile’ take-back day for senior citizens.

The police department’s mobile command unit will be visiting the Riverhead Senior and Human Resource Center and two senior communities in Riverhead Town so seniors can conveniently dispose of unwanted, unused and expired medications. The coalition will provide free giveaways for all participants.

There are three sites scheduled for the Aug. 9 take-back  day are:

Riverhead Senior Center, 60 Shade Tree Lane, Aquebogue from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. This is the only collection site that will be open to the general public.

Foxwood Village Recreation Hall, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. for Foxwood Village residents only.

Glenwood Village Clubhouse from 2:30 to 4 p.m. for Glenwood Village residents only.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States, especially among teens. The CDC reports that one in five teens say they have taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription and each day more than 2,000 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that nearly half of young people who inject heroin reported abusing prescription painkillers before starting to use heroin.

And teens often start with prescription medications found in home medicine cabinets. (See prior story here.)

Many individuals report taking up heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription drugs. In addition, more people die from prescription drug overdoses than from all illegal drugs combined. In fact, prescription drug deaths are now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., outnumbering highway traffic fatalities.

Ongoing medication take-back events are part of the Riverhead Community Coalition’s strategy to prevent prescription drug and subsequent heroin abuse among Riverhead youth. Nearly 2,000 pounds of medication have been collected since August 2014 through a combination of take-back events and the permanent 24/7 drop box installed in the lobby of the Riverhead Police Department.

The mission of the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth is to engage collaborative partners in the planning, implementation and evaluation of strategies that prevent youth substance use. In 2013, the coalition was awarded a 5-year Drug-Free Communities Support Grant through the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. For more information about the coalition, or to participate, please call visit Riverhead CAP  or call at (631) 727-3722.


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