Madison County State's Attorney Thomas D. Gibbons and Coroner Steve Nonn have joined forces to launch Lock Your Meds, a national campaign that encourages adults to closely monitor prescription and over-the-counter medications to keep them out of the hands of teens and young adults.
Lock Your Meds is about awareness and opening people’s eyes to the fact that legal drugs, in the wrong hands, are just as dangerous as the drugs people buy on the street,” Gibbons said. “Adults need to make sure that they are not becoming accidental dealers by allowing their medications to end up fueling an addiction or even killing someone.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates that more than seven million Americans abuse prescription drugs. Of those abusers over the age of 12, it is estimated that 70% obtain the drugs from friends and family members. The DEA estimates more than 4,000 young adults and children have their first experiment with prescription drugs every day.
These alarming statistics, coupled with the search for solutions to the ongoing fight against heroin in Madison County, led Gibbons and Nonn to the Lock Your Meds campaign. The two have been outspoken on the growing problem of heroin in Madison County, where arrests, prosecutions and overdoses have risen dramatically in the last several years.
In investigating and prosecuting overdose deaths, Gibbons and Nonn found many heroin abusers were also abusers of prescription drugs with multiple types of prescription drugs revealed in toxicology reports of heroin overdose victims. They see the link between prescription drugs and heroin abuse as critical.
“Most heroin users don’t start with heroin,” Gibbons said. “We’re finding that many started with prescription drugs.”
Last year, Nonn’s office investigated 54 drug overdose deaths in Madison County. Of those deaths, 26 were heroin related, 18 were attributed to prescription drug abuse, and the remaining 10 deaths were attributed to other combinations of illicit drugs and alcohol.
“Each of these deaths represent an exponential number of grieving family, friends and loved ones left behind,” Nonn said. “As government officials, it is our duty not only to alert our citizens when a health hazard is present, but to react in a quick and aggressive manner in order to rebuff and resolve the problem with expediency. Programs like Lock Your Meds are part of that very process and I am glad to be involved in the project.”
Donna Nahlik, Prevention Specialist Chestnut Health Systems and Chairperson for the Drug Free Coalitions of Madison County, said parents and grandparents need to be proactive in fighting the problem.
“No adult wants to think that it will be their child or grandchild who will abuse or misuse prescription drugs, but research shows us that more than 2,500 youth nationwide start to abuse or misuse prescription drugs every day", Nahlik said. “It is up to us as adults to thwart access to these substances. Locking up medications that you are still using and safely disposing of unwanted or expired medications is a great step to take to keep our kids safe.”
The Lock Your Meds campaign is sponsored by the same organization that supports National Red Ribbon Week in elementary schools. As part of the Lock Your Meds message, Gibbons, Nonn, and Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz will participate in the National Take Back Initiatives sponsored by the DEA. Members of the community will be invited to bring any unwanted, expired or unused prescription drugs to a drop-off site to be determined. At a previous event in October 2011, the DEA collected almost 190 tons of medication at more than 5,000 sites nationwide.
Gibbons believes getting out in the community to educate people about these issues and empowering them to help fight the drug problem is key to stopping the rash of overdoses killing teens and adults in Madison County.
“It’s a simple message: be aware, don’t share,” Gibbons said. “You can make a difference and take control of the situation by locking up your meds to keep them out of the wrong hands.”
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Plese join us this Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 10:00am-2:00pm at the parking lot on 2nd Street, located behind the
Madison Coutny Administration Building:
157 N. Main Street
Edwardsville, IL 62025
Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons, Coroner Steve Nonn, and Sheriff John Lakin are once again encouraging Madison County residents to bring their expired, or unwanted, prescription or over-the-counter medications to Edwardsville as part of the National Take-Back Initiative sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
There will be free prescription lock bags for the first 10 individuals who bring their medications to the site. This take-back service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
- Prescription Drug Take-Back Day October 22, 2016 (PDF)
- National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day April 30, 2016 (PDF)
- National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day September 26, 2015 (PDF)
- National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day September 27, 2014 (PDF)
- Lock Your Meds Website
- Drug Free Alton
- Team 10 Drug Free Coalition
- Lock Your Meds TV Ad
- State's Attorney Tom Gibbons "Lock Your Meds" Interview on WBGZ Radio
- Home Medicine Inventory Card (PDF)
- Close the Communication Gap (PDF)
- Meducation (PDF)
- Lock Your Meds Poster-English (PDF)
- Lock Your Meds Poster-Spanish (PDF)
- Permanent Drug Drop-Off Sites in Madison County (PDF)
Photos and Video
State's Attorney Gibbons kicks off the Lock Your Meds Campaign outside the County
Administration Building on March 14, 2012.
State's Attorney Gibbons discusses the importance of disposing of unused or expired
With Coroner Steve Nonn and Donna Nahlik and Melanie Nagel of Drug Free Coalitions
State's Attorney Tom Gibbons, Coroner Steve Nonn and Lt. G. Cale Becker pose with
some of the collected prescription drugs at the National Take-Back event in
Edwardsville. Over 160 pounds of prescription medications were collected
Just a sample of the prescription medications that were collected on April 21, 2012 in
State's Attorney Tom Gibbons gave away free prescription local boxes to the first 20
residents who dropped off their unused or expired prescription drugs at the National
Take-Back event in Edwardsville.