drug take back day partners 4 27 19v2This year’s National Drug Take Back Day broke the record for pounds collected. Pictured here are part of the event team (from left to right) Silver City Police Department Community Resource Officer, Manny Jaure, New Mexico Department of Health’s Michele Giese and Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition’s Corina Castillo at the Silver City WalMart Super Center.Wednesday, May 21, 2019; Silver City, NM: Residents set a record for the largest amount of medications ever collected at National Dug Take Back Day in Grant County. A record 34 pounds of pills were safely disposed of during the four-hour event held at WalMart on the last Saturday of April. 

“The success of Drug Take Back Day was also due largely to having a great location offered by our partner Walmart and the continued efforts of the Silver City Police Department sending the Community Resource Officer, Manny Jaure,” said Corina Castillo, program specialist for the  Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (YSAPC), which helped coordinate the event with support of additional partners the Grant County DWI Program and the New Mexico Department of Health.

National Drug Take Back Days occur twice a year in April and October, and to put the record-breaking amount into perspective the 34 pounds collected in a single day is equal to the average amount collected over three-months at the green MedReturn kiosks available in Bayard and Silver City, which offer year-round medication disposal in Grant County.

Officer Jaure said, “The great thing about the MedReturns is that anyone can drop off drugs, and its anonymous, does not matter where the drugs come from.” The Med Returns are located in the Bayard Public Safety Building, 801 Central Ave., and in Silver City at 1106 N. Pope Street, across the street from Hidalgo Medical Services’ Silver City Community Health Center.

“We had a more prescription drugs turned in this Take Back Day and more community members utilizing the MedReturns due to the great outreach from Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition,” added Officer Jaure.

Castillo said during Drug Take Back Day several widows brought “bagfuls of medications” that had been prescribed to their departed spouses but remained in their homes. “It was good they brought the medications in for safe disposal, because unsecured medications could fall into the wrong hands to be misused or abused.”

Proper disposal of medications is still a large community issue that affects youth. On the most recent Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, 23 percent of Grant County High School students self-reported they had used painkillers without a prescription during their lifetime, which is considerably higher than the state’s average of 16 percent.

On the same survey, 9 percent of Grant County High School students report currently using pain killers to get high, slightly more than the state’s average of 7 percent. Though a concerning statistic, it is a huge decline since 2011 when Grant County raked highest in the state for current youth abusing painkillers, a startling 23 percent at that time, which led to the county receiving OSAP funding to address the issue with prevention efforts lead by YSAPC.

“Implementation of the MedReturns in the community occurred in 2015 in response to these statistics,” said Castillo, “and the corresponding survey results show a decrease in prescription drug misuse for subsequent survey year, 2017.  This positive correlation can be attributed to the community members utilizing the MedReturns to safely disposing of prescription drugs.”

Castillo reminded community members to secure their medications to assure they aren’t misused or abused. “There is still work to be done in the community around painkiller misuse in youth,” said Castillo. YSAPC plans more outreach to the Mining District this year, as well as reached out to Police Chief Lee Alirez about including Bayard in October’s Drug Take Back Day event. 

“Positive change has occurred and with the continued support of the community and local organizations, our statistic can continue to improve and the lives of our youth,” added Castillo.

For more information contact YSAPC at (575) 597-0025 or email: ccastillo@swchi.org.

This news release is made available by the Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Grant County, a program of the Center for Health Innovation, New Mexico’s Public Health Institute, and funded by the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP). 

About the Center for Health Innovation 

The Center for Health Innovation (CHI) is designated New Mexico’s Public Health Institute and is a nonprofit focused on bettering community health in underserved and underrepresented populations.  CHI empowers groups and individuals at a local, state and national level to determine the future wellbeing of their communities through the development and implementation of innovative policies, strategies and evidence-based models. Founded in 2015, CHI is headquartered in Silver City, with additional offices located throughout New Mexico. For more information, visit www.swchi.org.

About the Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition 

Founded in 2013, the Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (YSAPC) of Grant County works tirelessly to curb youth access to alcohol, opioids and tobacco through initiating social projects and guiding public and school policy for greatest impact.  The Coalition is composed of representatives from 12 county sectors to have the greatest impact possible with funding provided by the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention. For more information, visit here.

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