Prioritizing prevention: 600 free medicine lock boxes available Saturday

Reducing teen drug use: More than 600 free medicine lock boxes available Saturday

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths in Washington are declining.

Addiction Specialist Dr. Brian Dawson from Ideal Option in Kennewick said that's exactly why people need to keep hearing about the danger.

“You can't get complacent," he said. "This is a war, this is a battle. We need to stay on top of it.”

Dr. Dawson said the more we do to prevent kids accessing dangerous opioids the better.

He said most adults caught in the addiction cycle started in their teens.

A 2010 National Survey on Drugs Use and Health said every day 6,600 Americans (one-third of them children ages 12 to 17) used prescription drugs non-medically for the first time, many from the medicine cabinet in their own home.

“If we can keep those medications out of their hands to begin with it keeps the community safe,” Dawson said.

The doctor said cases of opioid abuse have skyrocketed over the last four or five years, but recently those numbers are leveling off.

He said this could be thanks to doctors prescribing less opioids, but also because programs like the free lockbox giveaway are working to keep drugs in the community safely out of reach.

That's why Dawson said the Educational Service District (ESD) 123's move to distribute lock boxes is a good idea.

ESD 123 Director of Student Support Dana Camarena said there's a lot of work to be done in our community.

She said the lockboxes they're giving out serve two purposes.

Limiting substance-abuse in teens, as well as suicide attempts.

“We’re trying to hit it from all different angles," Camarena said. “Means restriction is an extremely important part of the work we do. In our state two youth die by suicide each week.”

Camarena said lockbox events like this are happening all over Washington.

She said it's a good way to educate community members about drug abuse and death by suicide while also providing a solution.

“I think there are a lot of people in the community doing great work to get on top of this crisis," said Dr. Dawson. "We just need to provide more services and more support, and everything we do can help. Having these lockboxes is really going to make a difference.”

Organizers told Action News cable gun locks are available at the free lock box event while supplies last.

Also, prescription drug take-back, and substance abuse and suicide prevention education.

This event is open to the community as well as anyone concerned about youth access to their unused or un-monitored medication or who wants to learn more about substance abuse.

Free Medicine lock box giveaway

  • Where: The Kadlec Healthplex at 1268 Lee Blvd., Richland, Wash.
  • When: Saturday, April 7, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
  • For more information: Contact Dana Camarena at
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