In an effort to take unused and expired prescription drugs out of reach of children and teens who may happen to experiment with and ultimately abuse them, the Massapequa Takes Action Coalition hosted its first annual “Drug Take Back Day” on March 9. According to Cathy Samuels, MTAC coordinator, the event held at Plainedge High School was necessary because of the epidemic that drug abuse has become on Long Island,
“Within the Massapequa area, we have had a number of fatalities from opioid, heroin and fentanyl overdose.” She went on to explain that abuse of prescription drugs can lead to abuse of more serious and often illegal drugs. “Many people in the Massapequas who have used heroin started with prescription drugs. Furthermore, 71 percent of young adults who misuse these prescription drugs get them from their own medicine cabinets.”
Tom Lively, of the Nassau County Police Department, was on hand to talk about the harsh realities of how exactly young people could fall prey to prescription drug experimentation.
“You certainly wouldn’t want to have your kid have a friend over and go through your medicine cabinet and find a drug that was prescribed to me and have my kid or their friend try some of those pills. So, if I no longer have a need for them, why are they in the house?”
At the three-hour event, staffed by volunteers from organizations such as the Coalition, Nassau County Police Department, Massapequa Public Library, Plainedge Public Schools and the Massapequa High School SADD club, people could drive up to the front of the school and deposit their drugs into large garbage cans, whose contents would later be properly destroyed by the Nassau County Police Department.
Dorothy, a Massapequa resident, who could be seen dropping off drugs with her daughter said, “I used to live next to a drug dealer, thankfully he’s long gone now, but I used to find syringes next to our house all the time. So, I would say it’s a big problem.”
Additionally, every person that dropped off drugs was given an envelope containing a card with a list of precincts where drugs can be dropped off at any time, a fact card with a list of questions to ask your healthcare provider when being prescribed medication and how to secure, monitor, and dispose of said medication, and home disposal kits.
However, if this epidemic is to be combatted, everyone must do their part, as Sandy Guillaume, from Community Action for Social Justice says, “It shouldn’t be just one entity that helps to fight it. It shouldn’t be just the doctors or just the cops that address it. We all play a role in educating our community.”