Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Prescription Drug Take Backs

Prescription drug abuse is a growing concern in Iowa, due to the misuse of prescription painkillers (opioids), anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medicines, stimulants, and others medicines.  When not used as directed, controlled substances can lead to behavioral disorders, addiction, and even death.  This is also true of heroin, increasingly used by some as a substitute for opioid pain medicine.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take in your home and community to help prevent prescription and opioid drug abuse.  By monitoring your medicines at home and disposing of them in a safe manner (not flushing), you can prevent the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs and protect Iowa’s water supply.

You have three options to properly get rid of unneeded over the counter and prescription drugs locally as outlined below.

1.      “Take Back Kiosks” (BEST!): More than 50 local law enforcement centers and community pharmacies have established permanent Take Back collection boxes, and the number of sites is growing. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office now offers this service.  The Kiosk is in the entry way and is available during normal Sheriff’s Office hours.  This program allows you to dispose of all medications (prescription, over the counter, controlled and non-controlled).  It does NOT allow for the disposal of inhalers, sharps/needles or liquids.  In the first week, the Sheriff’s Office took back 21 pounds of medications and disposed of them with the help of the local DEA Office in St. Louis, MO. 
2.      “Iowa Pharmacy Association’s “Take Away” program” (Better): Lee Pharmacy has this program available for non-controlled substances.  Just stop into the pharmacy and they will be able to help you understand how their program works. 
3.      “Take Back Events” (Better…but you may have to wait): Twice each year, on a Saturday in the Spring and Fall, law enforcement agencies team up with local organizations in over 100 Iowa communities to sponsor a special one-day collection of unused medicines.  Details typically are provided closer to the dates of these events, but general information is available at the DEA's Website:

For more information on how to dispose of your medications safely please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Information provided by the Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Americans Flock to National Drug Take Back Day - Safe disposal of unused medications addresses opioid epidemic

Six years after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Americans continue to turn out in large numbers to rid their homes of unused medications, including controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) such as painkillers, tranquilizers, and stimulants. 

On October 22, 2016, nationally the public turned in 731,269 pounds—almost 366 tons—of medication to DEA and more than 4,000 of its community partners at almost 5,200 collection sites nationwide.  Locally in Van Buren County there were 27 pounds collected by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Reserve Officers at the Drug Take Back Day Event.  Over the life of the program, 7.1 million pounds (more than 3,500 tons) of prescription drugs have been removed from medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers, and nightstands by citizens around the country and 193 pounds have been removed in Van Buren County. 

“Take back programs offer a safe, simple, and anonymous way to keep dangerous prescription drugs out of the wrong hands and prevent substance abuse,” said Chuck Rosenberg, Acting DEA Administrator. 

Unused medicines in the home are a problem because the majority of the 6.4 million Americans who abused CPDs in 2015, including the almost 4 million who abused prescription painkillers, say they obtained those drugs from friends and family, including from a home medicine cabinet, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last month.  Some painkiller abusers move on to heroin:  Four out of five new heroin users started with painkillers.  Almost 30,000 people—78 a day—died from overdosing on these painkillers or heroin in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

In the last two years since new regulations made the disposal of CPDs easier for patients and their caregivers, many law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics have begun continuous collection of these medications.  The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office now has an Rx Take Back Box in the lobby for Van Buren County Residents to dispose of their unused Rx and over the counter medications in.  No liquids, inhalers, or needles/sharps may be disposed of here.   In one week the Sheriff’s Office collected 21 pounds of medication.  Please continue to use this important service to dispose of your medications safely and without harming our environment.  Also, Lee’s Pharmacy continues to take back non-controlled substances at the pharmacy. 

For more information on Prescription Drug Take Backs please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Give Yourself Something To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving

The seasons are turning from warm summer days to cool crisp mornings and vibrant fall colors. The season for thanksgiving is upon us and this is a time to give thanks for all things important to you.  While there are many things you may be thankful for in your life some may be dealing with the abuse of drugs and alcohol. The SAFE Coalition wants to take this opportunity to provide you with resources to assist you in your decision to become free of Drug Addiction.  Keep in mind drug addiction includes addiction to alcohol and tobacco.
It takes courage and strength to face up to drug addiction. When you’re bogged down in drug abuse and drug addiction, sobriety can seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your current situation seems.

Change is possible with the right treatment and support, and by making lifestyle changes that address the root cause of your addiction. Don’t give up, even if you’ve tried and failed before. There are many different roads to recovery, but almost all involve bumps, pitfalls, and setbacks. But by examining the problem and thinking about making the necessary changes, you’re already on your way. These seven steps will help you on your road.
1.       Decide to make a change.
For many people struggling with addiction, the biggest and toughest step toward recovery is the very first one: deciding to make a change. It’s normal to feel conflicted about giving up your drug of choice, even when you realize it’s causing problems in your life. Change is never easy.
2.       Explore your treatment options
Once you’ve made the decision to challenge your drug addiction, it’s time to explore your treatment choices. Options can be found online, by talking to your doctor or calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
3.       Reach out for support
Don’t try to go it alone. Whatever treatment approach you choose, having a solid support system is essential. The more positive influences you have in your life, the better your chances for recovery. Recovering from drug addiction isn’t easy, but with people you can turn to for encouragement, guidance, and a listening ear, it’s a little less tough.
4.       Learn healthy ways to cope with stress
Even once you’ve recovered from drug addiction, you’ll still have to face the problems that led to your drug problems in the first place. Did you start using drugs to numb painful emotions, calm yourself down after an argument, unwind after a bad day, or forget about your problems? After you become sober, the negative feelings that you used to dampen with drugs will resurface. For treatment to be successful, and to remain sober in the long term, you’ll need to resolve these underlying issues as well.
5.       Keep triggers and cravings in check
While getting sober from drugs is an important first step, it’s only the beginning of the recovery process. Once sober, the brain needs time to recover and rebuild connections that have changed while addicted. During this time, drug cravings can be intense. You can support your continued sobriety by making a conscious effort to avoid people, places, and situations that trigger the urge to use.
6.       Build a meaningful drug free life
You can support your drug treatment and protect yourself from relapse by having activities and interests that provide meaning to your life. It’s important to be involved in things that you enjoy and make you feel needed. When your life is filled with rewarding activities and a sense of purpose, your addiction will lose its appeal.
7.       Don’t let relapse keep you down
Relapse is a common part of the recovery process from drug addiction. While relapse is understandably frustrating and discouraging, it can also be an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and correct your treatment course.

By taking the above steps to become free of addiction next thanksgiving you could be giving thanks for a sober life.

Information provided by Helpguide. Additional information can be found on their website at If you would like additional local assistance you may contact the SAFE Coalition at, by phone at 319-293-6412 or online at

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Local Social Host Ordinance FAQ

Q:  Who is a social host?
A:  The ordinance states: A social host is any person who aids, conducts, allows, entertains, organizes, supervises, controls, or permits an event, gathering, or party.  This includes, but is not limited to a) the person(s) who owns, rents, leases, or otherwise has control of the premises where the event, gathering, or party takes place; b) the person(s) in charge of the premises; or c) the person(s) who organized the event.  If the social host is a juvenile, then the parent(s) of that juvenile will be jointly and severally liable for any violation of this chapter. 

Q:  Does the Social Host Ordinance apply to property owners who are not present and do not know about the underage consumption of alcohol on their property?
A:  The ordinance states:  The social host knowingly permits or allows underage persons to consume alcoholic beverages, and/or controlled substances, and/or prescription drugs; The social host reasonably should know that an underage person or persons has consumed alcoholic beverages, and/or controlled substances, and/or prescription drugs; The social host knowingly permits or allows underage persons to possess an alcoholic beverage, and/or controlled substance(s), and/or prescription drug(s).  A social host who hosts such an event, gathering, or party does not need to be on the premises at the time the prohibited act occurs to be in violation of this chapter. 

A social host has an affirmative defense if the social host took reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or controlled substances, and/or prescription drugs such as contacting law enforcement and allowing officers onto the premises for the purpose of stopping these illegal activities.

So, if the property is utilized for an underage drinking party without the owner’s knowledge the owner cannot be held liable. 

Q:  Does the Social Host Ordinance apply to events on Public Property?
A:  The ordinance states that a premises is any home, yard, farm, field, land, apartment, condominium, hotel or motel room, or other dwelling unit, or a hall or meeting room, park or any other place of assembly, public or private, whether occupied on a temporary or permanent basis, whether occupied as a dwelling or specifically for a party or other social function, and whether owned, leased, rented, or used with or without permission or compensation.

So if an event is held on public property where underage persons are consuming alcohol and the host knowingly allows the consumption to go on they can be held liable. 

A social host has an affirmative defense if the social host took reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or controlled substances and/or prescription drugs such as contacting law enforcement and allowing officers onto the premises for the purpose of stopping these illegal activities.

Q:  Does the Social Host Ordinance give authorities permission to enter private property without permission?
A:  This ordinance does not allow authorities to come on private property without permission.