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During the October prescription roundup campaign, 114 pounds of prescription drugs were collected and disposed of by the Sheriff’s Office. Pictured are Picture was taken at the KI Elks Lodge, collecting was Sally Kramer, Drug Education Coordinator for the Elks and DFC Sewell of the Sheriff's Office.
Drug FreeCoalition Urges Action
According to a recent “Communities That Care” survey of county youth, 7% of Queen Anne’s County children have tried heroin. One in five youth have abused prescription drugs, One in three youth say it is okay to abuse prescription drugs once in a while.
The Queen Anne’s County’s Drug Free Coalition is urging citizen action to reduce opioid overdoses, stemming from addiction that often begins with prescription drug use. “Every citizen can help to counter this deadly epidemic by removing unwanted or expired prescription drugs from their home,” explains the Coalition’s chairperson, Warren Wright.
Since 2009, the Drug Free Coalition has worked in collaboration with the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office to collect unwanted prescription medication. During the week of October 23, 2017 as part of the “Prescription Round-Up,” a uniformed Sheriff’s Deputy and a Coalition volunteer traveled to four collection points to gather an abundance of medications discarded by concerned citizens. During the October prescription roundup campaign, 114 pounds of prescription drugs were collected and disposed of by the Sheriff’s Office. Mr. Wright added, “Removing these drugs from your home, keeps them out of reach of children, teens, other relatives, neighbors, or friends who might accidentally or purposely come across the medications.”
The Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office reports that since January 2017, there have been 51 opioid-related overdoses and five opioid-related deaths in Queen Anne’s County. This number of overdoses or lives lost among Queen Anne’s County citizens does not include residents who overdosed or died in another county or in Delaware. According to Deputy Sonny Jones of the Sheriff’s Office, “Due to local law enforcement’s aggressive efforts to pursue and arrest opioid dealers, the supply in Queen Anne’s County is limited. However, addicts often travel to neighboring jurisdictions to buy drugs such as Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, or Delaware. It is not unusual for the addict to immediately consume a lethal dose at or near the location where the purchase was made, thus the overdose or death occurs there, rather than back at home in Queen Anne’s County. The actual number of county citizens who have overdosed or died is likely triple the number reported.”
Other key organizations have collaborated with the Coalition to reduce the supply of prescription opioids in the community. The Kent Island Elks Lodge actively joined the campaign by partnering with the County Commissioners, the Kent Island Fire Department, and the county’s Senior Centers to raise awareness and coordinate collections of unwanted prescription drugs. All medications collected are safely burned by law enforcement, because, in addition to drug abuse, improperly disposed prescription drugs have also been linked to pollution of the nation’s waterways.
At any time citizens are welcome to bring unwanted prescription drugs to the Maryland State Police Barracks or the Sheriff’s Office. For citizens who want to get involved in this or any other drug prevention campaign, the Coalition’s next meeting is Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 8 a.m. at the Sheriff’s Office in Centreville. All are welcome.