Coalition works to help gather unused prescription medicines

ELKINS – Randolph County’s America’s Promise Coalition helped gather up and safely dispose of hundreds of pounds of unused prescription medicine, officials said this week.

The Coalition recently participated in a prescription take-back event as part of the National Take-Back Initiative, that aims to provide safe and responsible ways for residents to dispose of unused prescriptions.

Many area residents anonymously dropped off unused prescriptions, allowing the Coalition to collect hundreds of pill bottles. Some of the medications dated from the 1970s, officials said this week.

“They collected over 200 pounds of unused prescription drugs,” said Rebecca Vance, director of the Randolph County Family Resource Network.

Vance said all prescriptions were then taken to be disposed of properly, ensuring they have little chance of contaminating water reserves or the environment.

The group discussed participating in another prescription take-back event toward the end of September.

Vance said every eighth grader in Elkins Middle School completed a “Too Good for Drugs” course that helped them express what they learned about making healthy decisions to fellow students and perhaps even adults in the community.

Students were armed with supportive, educational statistics so they could better prepare themselves in helping to stop drug abuse, Vance said.

The Coalition is looking to expand the curriculum to more schools in the area next year and are holding a free training workshop on the evidence based curriculum of Too Good for Drugs, for those interested in contributing to the classes, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 17 in the Randolph County Health Department and West Virginia University Extension Conference Room.

Kris Kimble, heading the Regional Tobacco Prevention efforts in the area, proudly announced that 11 $1,000 scholarships were given to students at Tygarts Valley High School for their work and contributions to the RAZE club, under the direction of club advisor Joan Tacy.

The Tygarts Valley RAZE club is one of the most active clubs within the state, placing high in awards competitions and doing what they can to educate and help peers who are facing the pressure to use drugs and tobacco.

With these accomplishments, the Coalition plans to increase classes throughout Randolph County schools to help further educate students on tobacco and drug usage and introduce more RAZE clubs in public schools, such as the Harman School.

Kimble also mentioned that four counties in the state are currently in the process of deciding whether or not they would like to be considered drug-free premises, and Berkeley County recently decided to consider itself as a drug-free county.

The need for residents to be educated concerning the truth about the electronic cigarettes, more commonly referred to as e-cigs, that recently swept the market became a topic of concern for members of the Coalition.

E-cigs, even though they have not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, often appeal to those interested in smoking because of their wide-range of attractive flavors, but are still considered by some to be damaging and can lead to nicotine addiction, resulting in the customer buying and smoking actual cigarettes, officials said.

The Coalition plans to target this growing problem within the local youth culture by providing more sources of education and confirming that the cigarettes should be banned under the smoke-free policy.

Perhaps one of the most influential projects currently underway is the financing for a Coalition facility dedicated to those in recovery. Otherwise known as the Gatehouse, the Coalition is looking to obtain enough funding for the project and apply for a certificate of need.

The Gatehouse facility would greatly benefit area residents and those recovering from addiction, officials said. This facility is planned to help patients through a series of available, individualized counseling in any field of need. The facility could potentially help place those who have recovered into the community with assistance in finding a stable job.

Such assistance could include finding a steady job through paid trials and participating in a savings program that would reward patients for their work and money conservation upon working.

Continually striving to spread education and advocacy for decision-making within our region, the Coalition plans to hold its 12th National Kids Day event in August at the Elkins City Park.

The Coalition’s goal is to give families a day of free fun where they can bond and learn about making healthy decisions together. Members are still in the process of organizing the family-oriented event.