According to WCCO, Minnesota police and health leaders are looking to drop-off boxes as a way to stop teens from getting hooked and overdosing on painkillers they find in their own family’s or friend’s medicine cabinets. Huh?
Between 2004 and 2009, more than 6,000 youth and young adults under the age of 25 were treated at Twin Cities emergency departments for overdoses of prescription painkillers, according to Alison Pence of North Memorial Medical Center.
Clearly, there is a problem. But how do drop-off boxes help? Are people really looking to get rid of the drugs in the first place? Or are they drugs the parents still want around? Do you get rid of unused Vicodin or Oxycotin, or do you save it for another time? There might very well be a big difference here between what we practice and what we should practice.
Last September, the police department in Northfield, a college town south of the Twin Cities, installed a large, steel drop-off box in the lobby. How about some stats on how many drop-offs they’ve had? And how about some stats on drug-related deaths since that time?
The most confusing thing, of course is that “Northfield started the drug drop-off program after several young people died of heroin overdoses in their community.” Heroin overdoses? Come on, folks; heroin isn’t exactly an over-the-counter drug. I wonder how many heroin drop offs they’ve had at the facility. Sure, Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycotin might all be stepping stones along the way, but how about getting to the real root of the problem? No?