Prescription drugs are a growing problem in our community. Oklahoma has the 5th highest Drug Overdose Mortality Rate in the United States (TFAH, 2013). The Metro OKC Coalition (MOC) workgroup selected addressing prescription drug abuse problem in our community. MOC researched data and performed a community assessment to determine what selected zip codes they would target. 73108, 73109, 73111, 73119, and 73129 were zip codes selected. The goal is to reduce the number of people between the ages of 12 and across the lifespan who misuse pain relievers.
The two strategies that have the best outcomes and show the most promise are public education campaign and increase proper disposal of prescription drugs at local drop boxes. The public education campaign will bring awareness to the community about the proper way to store their medicine and dispose of unnecessary or expired medicine. This strategy has proven to produce positive outcomes and can be very cost effective. It utilizes existing resources in the community involves community action. The second strategy chosen to continue is to increase the number of prescription disposal locations. When this strategy was first implemented there were only eight places a person could go and dispose of unnecessary or unused medicine and only one of those was in Oklahoma City. Thanks to the efforts in the community this number has increased to 12 locations within the county with three of them currently in the Oklahoma City metro. Another outcome of the community efforts is that the City now takes and disposes of medicine a few times each year at the fairgrounds. This is a proactive strategy and will require utilizing our partners as well as developing new relationships. The laws and policies are changing rapidly when it comes to who is allowed to take back other peoples unused medicine. Our coalition must continue to educate not only ourselves but the community at large on proper disposal.