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Missouri Proposal for More Drug Take Back Locations Could Have P - KOAM TV 7

Missouri Proposal for More Drug Take Back Locations Could Have Positive and Negative Effects

Updated:
Joplin, MO -

Proposed legislation in Missouri would allow more permanent drug take back locations.  The boxes or kiosks are for unused or old prescription medications.  This proposal has only been introduced and referred to a committee.  But the bill has already gained the support of many pharmacists, who say it makes sense for people to drop off old medication where they pick up new medication.  One local organization agrees, but also says there could be a negative domino effect.

"Trying to get them help.  If they have a problem, we're going to try and get them help," says Neosho pharmacist Tim Mitchell.

Part of that help includes getting rid of drug abuse temptation or the potential for accidents.

"A lot of times, there are youth or teens in a home and they may not abuse them, but their friends have access to those homes, as well," says Marlissa Diggs with the Alliance of Southwest Missouri.

People can already use special bags to properly dissolve unused medications.  But Mitchell, who's also a former president of the Missouri Pharmacy Association, says drug take back kiosks may be more successful because of their design.

"They're very visible and very accessible," says Mitchell.

Current Missouri law only allows these kiosks in law enforcement centers.  Since 2012, several kiosks in Jasper, Newton, McDonald, and Barton counties have collected close to 4,000 pounds of drugs, opioids or not.  CVS and Walgreens have already pledged to install drug take back kiosks in their Missouri stores, if proposed legislation that would allow it for them and other pharmacies, is passed.

"I think it's a really great opportunity for us, as pharmacists, to show what we can do to be able to help with patients when they have questions about disposal of their medications," says Mitchell.

The Alliance of Southwest Missouri, which sponsors the drug take back boxes already in Southwest Missouri, supports the idea of more kiosks in pharmacies.  But organization members caution that other states that have more kiosks have seen increases in other drug use.

"Someone with substance abuse disorder is not automatically going to be not addicted because they can't get the pills," says Diggs.  "So the concern is the use of heroin and fentanyl and other illicit opioids is going to increase, and therefore overdoses and deaths would also increase for a period of time."

Nonetheless, the Alliance of Southwest Missouri says opioids end up being entry-level addictions for people.  More kiosks would hopefully help "out of sight, out of mind" before the addiction gets worse.

Permanent drug take back units are bolted to the ground for safety and officials monitoring them have to report to the state.  CVS plans on installing its drug take back kiosks by mid-year.  This, of course, depends on if this proposed legislation is passed.

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