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'Take Meds Seriously' prescription drug safety campaign launches

BEND, Ore. - Important tips for safe use, storage and disposal of prescription medications are featured in a new public awareness campaign called, Take Meds Seriously, Oregon.

In response to growing concerns about prescription drug misuse and abuse, the Central Oregon Health Council’s Pain Standards Task Force has joined with area substance abuse prevention coalitions to raise awareness of the public’s role in safeguarding medications. The grassroots campaign will run from now through June 2018.

An estimated 42% of prescribed medications go unused, according to a 2015 study in Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. Unused medications can pose a health and safety risk within households, communities and the environment if not stored and disposed of safely. Drug overdose hospitalizations doubled between 2000 and 2014, as reported by the Oregon Health Authority.

“Almost daily, we hear about the opioid crisis in America,” said Dr. Swanson of the Pain Standards Task Force. “The Take Meds Seriously Oregon campaign encourages the public to remember that all prescription medications should be used as directed, stored securely, and disposed of safely.” The Pain Standards Task Force is doing their part by addressing safe prescribing practices, offering continuing education for prescribers and creating connections among physical, oral and behavioral health practitioners.

Pharmacist Dr. Nathan Rouse stated, “Prescription drugs are prescribed to individuals for specific purposes and with careful consideration to how they may interact with other prescriptions. Misuse of prescription drugs, such as sharing with friends or family, could result in serious harm.”

There are 18 safe disposal locations throughout Central Oregon; a list is available at www.takemedsseriouslyoregon.org/disposal. Organizations and businesses throughout the region are invited to share the campaign by using free electronic materials. For more information, contact Jessica McDonald, Deschutes County Health Services, 541-322-7454 or jessica.mcdonald@deschutes.org.


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