Pharmacies adopt "TakeAway" program - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Pharmacies adopt "TakeAway" program



IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem among teens and even younger children. A study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America reveals that one in five teenagers have abused prescription drugs, and many are getting them from the home medicine cabinet.

This is one reason behind the “TakeAway” Program. The idea is simple: walk into your local pharmacy with unused or leftover medication, and drop it in a TakeAway drop-box. They're already in dozens of Eastern Iowa drug stores.

Pharmacist Mike Stein at Iowa City’s Pharmacy Matters, says the drop boxes serve two purposes.

"To get medications out of peoples' hands who they are not intended for,” explained Stein. “The second part is environmental; a lot people have been told to flush unused medications down the toilet, which is not really good for the water treatment facilities and our water system."

Stein says some people don't use up all of their prescribed medications, which are sometimes discovered by children and teens, who can become addicted to them. “It could be pain-relieving medications, it could be antibiotics and things of that nature, that maybe go unused."

Jeff Cooper, with the drug abuse treatment center MECCA Services, says the TakeAway program could go a long way in preventing adolescent abuse of prescription drugs.

"We see it every day at MECCA, and we see it all over the state of Iowa and the nation," said Cooper. He hopes it will complete the circle for prescription drugs, from the doctor's office to proper disposal.

“Narcotics and sedatives and stimulants have the potential for abuse, and are abused," he said.

Currently, the TakeAway program does not accept controlled substances like Hydrocodone, OxyContin, or Vicodin. However, Stein says many pharmacies are looking into ways to take those kinds of medications, through partnerships with local law enforcement.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith


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