Jaimee Hanna is 20 years old and recently graduated from college in the Pacific Northwest. She is Straight Up’s summer intern and is blogging regularly about her experiences with us.
As beautiful as the county of Ventura appears from the eye of an outsider, many are blind to the prescription drug abuse problem that has become rampant in our county. Teens are a great portion of abusers as they can access them easily in the medicine cabinets in their homes and believe that since they were prescribed by a doctor that they must be safe. What many people don’t know is that prescription drugs commonly have side effects such as depression and thoughts of suicide. Not only are people overdosing from prescription drug abuse but they often commit suicide as a result of the depressed feelings and attitudes.
My job is figuring out how to reduce the problem. In my research I discovered that Ventura County has multiple disposal sites for unused/expired/extra prescription drugs. These sites include various police departments around the county as well as some pharmacies. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I had absolutely no idea. It then occurred to me that I’m probably not the only one who was unaware of the safe disposal sites in Ventura County and that I would perform a needs assessment and survey the county considering their knowledge of the issue as well as their awareness of safe disposal sites.
After gathering a couple of volunteers we went out into Downtown Ventura County and asked people:
- What they usually do with their unused/unwanted/expired prescription drugs and
- if they were aware of sites in Ventura County to properly dispose of them.
The answers varied around the board but a majority of the sample population either threw their meds in the garbage or left them in their medicine cabinets. The garbage and cabinets are perfect access points for teens to get their hands on the drugs and begin the downward spiral into addiction.
As for the second question, 70% of all of those surveyed were unaware of the disposal sites in Ventura County. That is unacceptable. I can only imagine the impact that spreading awareness about the sites will have in getting the drugs out of the hands of our teens and into the hands of people who can properly dispose of them.
It could save lives.
Disposal Bin Locations (find more information here)
Call your local police department for safe, confidential drop-off bins. Here are a few locations throughout the County:
- Camarillo Police Department, 3701 East Las Posas Road, Camarillo (805) 388-5100
- East County Patrol Station, 2101 East Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks (805) 494-8260
- Fillmore Police Department, 524 Sespe Avenue, Fillmore (805) 524-2233
- Headquarters Patrol Station, 800 South Victoria Avenue, Ventura (805) 654-2304
- Moorpark Police Department, 610 Spring Road, Moorpark (805) 532-2700
- Ojai Police Department, 402 South Ventura Street, Ojai (805) 646-1414
- Port Hueneme Police Department, 250 North Ventura Road, Port Hueneme (805) 986-6530
- Simi Valley Police Department, 3901 Alamo Street, Simi Valley (805) 583-6950
- Ventura Police Department, 1425 Dowell Drive, or at the Westside Resource Center, 110-K N. Olive St., Ventura (805) 339-4400. By appointment – please call ahead.