It’s an Omaha first with the goal of limiting prescription drug abuse. In the latest health surveys, millions of people age 12 and older have admitted to taking a prescription drug to get high. Now there's an easier way to get rid of those unused medications.
The Norvigs shop at the Hy-Vee at 180th and Pacific several times a week. “It's very convenient," says John. Now they can stop at the pharmacy, not to pick up prescriptions, but to return them. “I believe that's the safest way to do it, drop it off somewhere," says Kim.
It's called Take Away, the environmental return system. All Hy-Vee's in the metro have them behind the pharmacy counter. “We can pretty much take anything but controlled substances,” says pharmacy manager Micaila Ruiz.
The Nebraska Regional Poison Center has been working with Hy-Vee to provide an easy place for people to get rid of unused medications. “I think people will be more apt to get rid of the medications when they are done using them instead of sitting in a cupboard where someone could take them or a child could get them,” says Kim.
Prescription drug abuse is a topic many schools want to hear about. David Hayes, who lost his 15-year-old son Dillon to an unintentional drug overdose, shares his powerful message of preventing prescription drug abuse to whoever will listen. It's that important.
“Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in this country and part of the problem is there's easy access to them,” says Ruiz. “We all have them in the medicine cabinets. They're not controlled and locked away."
Now the prescription drugs can be disposed of safely and better yet some would argue, they're out of the house.
So what to do about the unused controlled substances like some painkillers? Because of the regulations there needs to be law enforcement around. There is a day at the 180th and Pacific Hy-Vee for that, April 27th from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
According to the Nebraska Regional Poison Center, it is estimated that 30,000 Americans will die from prescription drug abuse and overdose this year. Every 19 minutes there is a death from a drug overdose.
Flushing is a problem as the drugs contaminate our water.
In a 2002 study, low concentrations of medications were found in Nebraska streams and groundwater.