One of our county commissioner candidates recently wrote a letter to the editor about the opioid addiction crisis stating that there needs to be a reduction in the amount of prescriptions given. The Maryland State Grange belongs to a coalition called the Rx drug Addiction Leadership Initiative or RALI. The Maryland Pharmacists' Association and MEDCHI, the doctors' organization are members. One of the issues that we have addressed is the need to reduce the amount of opioids prescribed.
The Grange first got involved in this issue several years ago when they started finding medications in the drinking water. Since this is Maryland, the first place they looked to place the blame was on farmers. Val Connelly of Farm Bureau stated that when her family asked what to do with her grandmother's old prescriptions they were told to flush them down the toilet. Where do you think they went? The Grange passed policy to find better ways to dispose of prescription drugs. Many of our local Granges participate in the annual Drug Take-Back Day, where citizens can drop off old drugs and they will be properly disposed of. Many local police agencies now accept them year round.
New packets are available that will neutralize prescriptions when placed in them. Supposedly, kitty litter can also do the trick.
Drug addiction is a serious, complex problem with no simple, easy solutions. Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins recently stated at a Grange meeting that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. Doctors and pharmacists are looking at alternative ways to manage pain that lessen the chance of addiction. Giving fewer pills is one possibility. Even realtors are involved in the coalition. Do you properly secure your prescription drugs when you have an open house to sell your home?
Do not flush old drugs down the toilet! Take them to a participating police agency or ask your pharmacist for a packet to neutralize the old drugs and take them to the landfill.
The Grange commends Jon Kelvey and the Carroll County Times for highlighting the opioid crisis. This is not just an urban problem, it affects the smallest communities.
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The writer is president of Maryland State Grange.