Whitesburg KY

Seniors hear about prescription pills

The Letcher County Sheriff’s Department and the Letcher County Prevention Project recently teamed up to teach senior citizens how to be safe with their prescription medications.

“We gave them some of the local statistics, told them what we are trying to do in the community and then asked them for their help,” said Melissa Sturgill, Letcher County Drug Prevention Program coordinator.

The Letcher County Prevention Project was created in 2006 through a grant from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention to aid in reducing the amount of prescription medications that are shared, illegally sold or illegally obtained in the county.

Eugene Meade, chairperson of the Letcher County Drug Prevention Program, formed a committee of local citizens and officials who helped him apply for the grant.

Meade said that Letcher County has been tagged as having one of the highest rates of diversion of prescription drugs in the country.

Meade said what is unique about the grant is that it allows local individuals to have a say in solving their own problems. He said the grant is an educational effort that does not focus on drug addiction.

“We thought it was important to go around to the senior citizens centers and tell them about the project,” said Sturgill.

Sturgill, Sheriff Danny Webb, and Deputy Eugene Slone spent the last two weeks visiting all of the senior citizens centers in the county telling senior citizens how to properly dispose of unneeded or old medications.

Sturgill said people should crush old medications in an undesirable substance such as kitty litter, place the mixture in empty cans or a sealable bag, then throw it away.

Sturgill said to take labels off of prescription bottles before throwing them away. She also advises people to not flush medications down the toilet.

Sturgill also tells senior citizens to keep medications where other people cannot have access to them. She discourages people from keeping medicines in a medicine cabinet.

“We tell them to keep their medications locked up and to not tell people what medications they take,” she said.

Sturgill says it is important for senior citizens to know not to sell or share their prescription medications.

“If you aren’t going to take a medicine, don’t get it filled,” said Sturgill.

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