Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Safely Disposes Unwanted Medicines

By: KC Cole, Public Affairs
By: KC Cole, Public Affairs

The Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department has taken more than 1,400 pounds of unwanted medication off the street through the Prescription Take-Back Program.

The Prescription Take-Back Program, a two-year-old initiative, combats public and environmental health concerns brought about by improper disposal of medicines. Individuals are encouraged to dispose of their unwanted medications and pharmaceuticals at secure, prescription take-back drop off boxes. These boxes, which are in easily accessible locations, are monitored by the Lighthorse Police.

The medications are collected, documented and taken to a location in Tulsa, where they are properly disposed. of This prevents misuse and environmental contamination.

"The Lighthorse take-back program continues to be successful," said Tammy Hughes of the Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department. "We track the collections by weight and as of October we have collected more than 1,460 pounds. We currently contract with a company that incinerates our collected medications."

Medicines stored in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

"Oklahoma is among the leading states for prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse," said Behavior Health Clinician Deanna Carpitche of the Chickasaw Nation. "It is the fastest and most common form of drug abuse because it's available in virtually every home."

The non-medical use and abuse of the prescription drugs is a serious public health problem. The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services found that more than 20 percent of Oklahoma high school seniors report using prescription and over-the-counter medications without medical supervision.

Most who abuse prescriptions do not have a prescription from a doctor. Nationally, more than three out of four people who misuse medicinal drugs receive them from friends and family. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics reports that 83 percent of drug overdose deaths were attributed to pharmaceutical drugs, while only 17 percent were attributed to street drugs.

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates that health care costs related to medication abuse is more than $72 billion annually and continues to rise. Most of the cost is attributed to emergency room visits, extended drug treatment and other associated health problems attributed to prolonged drug use.

Americans are advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines, flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, is harmful to the environment and poses health hazards.

Research completed by the Associated Press concluded that
Pharmaceutical residues have been detected in the water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas serving 41 million people, according to the Associated Press.

Detected drugs included antibiotics, hormones, anticonvulsants and mood stabilizing compounds. Wastewater treatment rarely removes pharmaceuticals from effected water.

Improperly disposed medicines have negative effects on the environment. Hormones disrupt breeding cycles of fish and other aquatic wildlife. Some drugs are not biodegradable and are stored in animals to continue up the food chain, which causes harm to larger animals. Bacteria exposed to antibiotics have become resistant to them with continued contact.

For more information concerning the Prescription Take-Back Program, contact Tammy Hughes with the Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department at (580) 436-1166.

Chickasaw Nation Prescription Take-Back Program locations

Within the 13-county boundary of the Chickasaw Nation, the drop-off locations include:

Bryan County

* Chickasaw Nation Achille Senior Center at 104 W. Main, Achille, Okla.
* Bryan County Clinic Pharmacy at 1524 W. Chuckwa, Durant, Okla.

Carter County

* Chickasaw Nation Ardmore Senior Center at 949 Locust N.W., Ardmore, Okla.
* Chickasaw Nation Ardmore Health Clinic at 2510 Chickasaw Blvd., Ardmore.

Garvin County

* Chickasaw Nation Pauls Valley Senior Center at 109 N. Indian Meridian Road, Pauls Valley, Okla.
* Pauls Valley Police Department at 215 North Walnut Street, Pauls Valley.
* Garvin County Court House at 201 West Grant, Pauls Valley.

Johnston County

* Chickasaw Nation Connerville Senior Center at 6700 N. Hwy. 377, Connerville, Okla.
* Chickasaw Nation Tishomingo Health Clinic Pharmacy at 815 E. 6th Street, Tishomingo, Okla.
* Chickasaw Nation Tishomingo Senior Center at 1199 W. Ray Branum Road, Tishomingo.

Marshall County

* Chickasaw Nation Madill Senior Center at Corner of Hwy 70 and 5th Street, Oakland, Okla.
* Madill Police Department at 201 East Overton Street, Madill, Okla.

McClain County

* Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department North Office at U.S. Highway 62 and S.E. 32nd St., Newcastle, Okla.
* Chickasaw Nation Purcell Health Clinic at 1438 Hardcastle Blvd., Purcell, Okla.
* Chickasaw Nation Purcell Senior Center at 703 Sherri Classic Blvd., Purcell.

Murray County

* Chickasaw Nation Sulphur Senior Center at 401 E. Oklahoma, Sulphur, Okla.

Pontotoc County

* Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department Headquarters at 1130 W. Main, Ada, Okla.
* Chickasaw Nation Ada Senior Center at 1005 Chamber Loop, Ada
* Chickasaw Nation Medical Center Pharmacy at 1921 Stonecipher Blvd., Ada.
* Chickasaw Nation ReUse Center at 2205 North Broadway, Ada
* Allen Police Department at 109 N Memphis St., Allen, Okla.
* Chickasaw Nation Kullihoma Senior Center (12 miles east of Ada on S.H. 1, then 5 miles south on Kullihoma Road)

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