Summit County: What’s in your medicine cabinet?
Protecting our loved ones from opioid abuse will take community-wide efforts on many levels. First and foremost it requires admitting that Park City and Summit County are vulnerable to the same drug problems infiltrating both urban and rural, upscale and disadvantaged, large and small communities across the nation.
That lesson was seared into our collective conscience last month when two local middle school students died of apparent exposure to a new synthetic opioid.
To honor those students and their families we need to channel our heartbreak into action. We need to step up local drug awareness programs and treatment resources. We need to help law enforcement personnel devise practices that are tough enough to effectively fight drug trafficking while also ensuring that people who are in trouble are not afraid to reach out for help.
We need to provide support for families dealing with members who are battling addiction and we need to ensure that Spanish speaking residents and seasonal employees are involved in al of these efforts.
These are all daunting tasks but many are already being undertaken thanks to the leadership of the school district, the police and sheriff’s offices, the county health department, the faith community and the citizen’s group Connect.
But there is one simple and surprisingly effective step we can each take to reduce the accessibility of opioids in our community.
We can empty our medicine cabinets.
Post-op pain medication is a ubiquitous side effect of life in our sports centric resort community. For many years physicians have been overly liberal in prescribing relief for their patients. Many are beginning to rethink those practices but, in the meantime, lots of recreational athletes – from aging masters to young extremers – are hoarding leftovers in anticipation of the next injury.
Let’s get them out of our system before they end up in the wrong hands. But wait — don’t throw them in the trash or flush them down the toilet where they could end up tainting local water supplies.
On Saturday, Oct. 8, area residents may bring unwanted medications to Recycle Utah’s Hazardous Materials Collections Day where volunteers will be on hand at the Canyons parking lot to ensure that pharmaceuticals are properly disposed of.
And for those who can’t make it to the Recycle Utah event, unused medications (and other substances) can be dropped off year-round in secure bins at the Park City Police Department and Summit County Sheriff’s Office — no questions asked.