The Carteret County Sheriff’s Office, with the support of the Carteret County Health Department, has implemented an educational program entitled M.E.D.S. (Monitor, Educate, Dispose and Secure) to raise awareness about the safe storage and disposal of prescription medications.
“Historically the number one leading cause of accidental death in most places has been a person losing their life in an automobile accident,” said Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck. “This is no longer the case in many places. The number one leading cause of accidental death is due to overdosing on prescription medications.”
Carteret County consistently ranks above the state average in prescription medication overdose deaths. According to State Medical Examiners reports, over 100 people in Carteret County have died due to accidental poisoning related to prescription medication since 2000. The Death Rate, deaths per 100,000 in population, for Carteret County (26.4) is more than twice the state average (11.0) for accidental poisoning deaths.
“If you are being prescribed a controlled substance you have a certain responsibility to yourself and to your family to make sure that your medications are kept in a secure and safe manner,” stated Dr. Kerry Willis, East Carteret Family Medicine.
The M.E.D.S. initiative is designed to promote and raise public awareness about prescription drug problems in the community. Monitor encourages people to keep track of refills, note how many dosage units are in each bottle and control the dosage units if you have a child or teen that has been prescribed a drug. Educate provides information to friends and family on the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Dispose promotes the safe disposal of unused, unneeded or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications to law enforcement officials and secure is to take prescription medication out of the medicine cabinet and hide them in a place that only you and a trusted family member know about.
“People don’t realize how big of a problem prescription drug abuse is, especially teens as a collective whole,” said Kalen Perry, graduate, Croatan High School and former co-chair of CCSAP, Coastal Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention. “I don’t feel like my generation realizes how their choices today will affect them in the future.”
CCSO plans to have a thirty second television PSA running through the months of June, July and August promoting this program and currently has a billboard on Hwy. 70 West in Morehead City. In the coming months Sheriff Buck plans to reach out to the Carteret County School System in an effort to expand on this program and other programs sponsored by the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office.
- Keep track of refills
- Note how many are in each bottle
- Encourage family and friends to monitor their own medicine cabinets.
- Control medication, and monitor dosages and refills if you have a child or teen that has been prescribed a drug.
- Make friends and relatives, especially grandparents, aware of the risks of not monitoring, disposing and securing medication.
- Discuss the dangers of prescription drug abuse with friends and relatives.
- Encourage friends and relatives secure their prescriptions.
- Citizens of Carteret County should safely dispose of unused, unneeded or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications to law enforcement officials, who in-turn dispose of these controlled substances in a safe and non-hazardous manner.
- Discard in drop box in front lobby of CCSO or bring to Spring and Fall prescription turn in program events entitled “Pills Can Kill”.
- Take prescription medications out of the medicine cabinet and hide them in a place only you or a trusted family member know about.
- Lock medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, in a locked cabinet or secure lock box.