HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) – Expired or even unwanted drugs could put people at risk for drug addiction.
In western Maryland, Washington Goes Purple, which is an addiction prevention and awareness organization, went door-to-door alongside members of the Hagerstown Police and Fire Departments for their first march drug recovery since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organizations collected the excess drugs as well as needles and syringes for diabetics. Vicki Sterling, co-chair of Washington Goes Purple as well as director of behavioral health at the Washington County Department of Health, explains that excess or expired medications left unattended in a home could put individuals at a higher risk of taking drugs that are not intended for them. She says it could be a potential gateway to addiction.
“We know that people who use opioids started with a pill, so that might mean preventing addiction by getting rid of the drug,” Sterling explained. “It’s not uncommon for young people to look at their parents’ medicine cabinets and see what they have and experience, so by getting rid of these drugs, we reduce the risk of that.
The Drug Recovery Walk not only helps Washington Goes Purple, but also the Hagerstown Police Department educate community members about the risks of addiction and where to get rid of their unwanted drugs.
Yessena Duckworth took the opportunity to dispose of unused medication during the Medication Recovery Walk. She was already planning to get rid of the medicine as it was out of date but was waiting until she had time to do so.
“It’s really great especially for people who don’t really know what to do with it,[their unwanted or expired medication], or he ends up sitting still or maybe, unfortunately, will be thrown in the regular trash, which isn’t great, ”Duckworth said.
Diana Rowland was also already planning to get rid of her unwanted drugs. She said she was grateful for the Medication Recovery Walk because it provided her with a convenient way to remove excess medication from her home.
“I was just keeping old drugs and vitamins, and thought I was going to drop them off at police headquarters, but I hadn’t been down there yet,” Rowland said. “I no longer have young children. But just make sure no one is putting them in the wrong hands.
All unwanted or expired medications can be disposed of in medication collection boxes located at the Hagerstown Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Syringes or other needles cannot be placed in the return boxes for safety reasons. However, they can be picked up at the Hagerstown Police Department.
For more information and other Washington Goes Purple resources, please visit their website.