Prescription opioids, commonly used to treat pain from surgery, injury, and health conditions such as cancer are growing public health problems as opioid dependence and opioid-related deaths continue to rise.

  • Nationwide, opioid analgesic sales quadrupled from 1999 to 2010. The overall opioid prescribing rate in the United States peaked and has been declining since 2012, but the amount of opioids prescribed per person is still around three times higher than it was in 1999. (CDC)
  • Anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted to them. In fact, as many as one in four patients receiving long-term opioid therapy in a primary care setting struggles with opioid addiction. Once addicted, it can be hard to stop. In 2016, more than 11.5 million Americans reported misusing prescription opioids in the past year. (CDC)
  • In 2018, an average of 41 people died each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids, totaling nearly 15,000 deaths. Prescription opioids were involved in 32% of all opioid overdose deaths in 2018. (CDC)

1. What are Opioids?

Opioids include illegal drugs like heroin, and prescription medications used to treat pain like Percocet and OxyContin. (See Common Opioids)

Opioids attach to proteins in the body, and reduce the perception of pain. Opioids also affect the brain’s reward center. Opioids can produce drowsiness, vomiting, allergic reactions, mental confusion, nausea, constipation and can depress breathing.

Taken as prescribed, opioids may help manage pain when taken for a short amount of time. Regular use often leads to physical dependence; withdrawal symptoms may occur if drug use is suddenly reduced or stopped.

Risk of addiction occurs when medications are taken at higher than recommended doses, combined with alcohol or other drugs, or taken without a prescription.

2. Do you know what to do with your unused, unneeded, or expired medications?

Clear The Cabinet is a joint effort of the Carroll County Health Department and the Montgomery Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families Inc. to reduce unintentional overdoses involving opioids, such as prescription painkillers, by informing the public of the hazards of misuse and improper disposal.

3. Why is this important?

Approximately 50% of people who misuse prescription pain medicines get them from a friend or family member (FDA). You could become an unwitting drug dealer if your medications to fall into the wrong hands. Keeping them secure is an important part of any substance use prevention program. It’s about keeping your home, your loved ones, and your community safe.


Where can I dispose of my medications?

There are secure drop box and drop-off locations around the region.

Unwanted or expired medication, both prescription and over the counter, in tablet, liquid, ointment, inhaler, powder or patch form will be accepted at the following locations. Loose pills and all liquid medications must be sealed in a plastic bag before dropping into a collection box.

Items not accepted are: syringes, needles, thermometers, sun block, lipstick, bandages, gauze pads, deodorants, non-prescription skin crème and similar products.


How to Avoid Opioid Misuse / Opioid Overdose

  • Take medication only as prescribed.
  • Do not take more than instructed.
  • Call a doctor if your pain worsens.
  • Never mix painkillers with alcohol or sleeping pills.
  • Store your medication in a safe place, out of the reach of children in preferably in a locked and not in a medicine cabinet.
  • Dispose of unused medication promptly and at designated Drop –Off locations.
  • Teach your friends and family how to respond to an overdose. Discuss any concerns with your doctor.

Signs of Opioid Abuse

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Abscesses
  • Nasal problems
  • Collapsed veins
  • Nausea
  • Itching or flushed skin
  • Constipation
  • Nodding off

Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Mild: watery eyes, runny nose, sleepy/yawning, sweating
  • Severe: agitated, irritable, loss of appetite
  • Muscle cramps/pains
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • Restless legs
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Irregular Heartbeat

*Opioid withdrawal is extremely uncomfortable, but not life threatening. It is recommended that you contact a doctor or treatment center.

The National institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that 1 in 15 abusers of prescription pain killers will try heroin sometime in the next ten years.


What to do in an Overdose

  1. Call 911 immediately.
  2. Stay with the person.
  3. Give Naloxone (Narcan) if available.
  4. DO NOT slap the person, put into a cold bath or try to induce vomiting.
  5. Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law can provide immunity for you AND the overdose victim if you call for help.
  6. Naloxone information

Find out more from the Maryland Department of Health


Proper Storage and Disposal

The safest place to store medication is in a locked box or cabinet, out of sight and out of reach of children and others. Keep medications in their original, labeled containers so there can be no confusion about the contents. When medications are expired or no longer needed, don’t keep them in your home – dispose of them promptly and properly by taking them to a secure drop-off location.

Flushing medications down the drain or toilet is not the best option. Opioids and other prescription medications can end up in our waterways, and eventually in our drinking water. Wastewater treatment plants are not able to filter out the chemicals in prescription medicines. Medications tossed in the trash end up in the landfill and can leach into the water supply, too. If you are a Carroll County resident and you are unable to take your expired or unneeded medications to a secure drop-off location, call the Carroll County Health Department at 410-876-4449 and ask about other options for safe medication disposal.

Studies have found antibiotics, hormones, anti-depressants and pain relievers in waterways across the country.

Secure Drop Box Locations

Unwanted or expired medication, both prescription and over the counter, in tablet, liquid, ointment, inhaler, powder or patch form will be accepted at the following locations. Loose pills and all liquid medications must be sealed in a plastic bag before dropping into a collection box.

Items not accepted are: syringes, needles, thermometers, sun block, lipstick, bandages, gauze pads, deodorants, non-prescription skin crème and similar products.

Carroll County

Westminster

Westminster City Police Department

36 Locust Street, Westminster, MD 21157

410-848-4646

Maryland State Police Barrack – Open 24/7

1100 Baltimore Boulevard, Westminster, MD 21157

410-386-3000

Carroll County Sheriff’s Office

100 N Court Street, Westminster, MD 21157

410-386-2900

Taneytown

Taneytown Police Department

120 E Baltimore Street, Taneytown, MD 21787

410-751-1150

Sykesville

Sykesville Police Department

7547 Main Street, Sykesville, MD 21784

410-795-0757

South Carroll Law Enforcement Satellite Office

1532 Liberty Road, Eldersburg, MD 21784

410-386-2900

Hampstead

Hampstead Police Department

1112 S Main Street, Hampstead, MD 21074

410-239-8954

Manchester

Manchester Police Department

3215 Long Lane, Manchester, MD 21102

410-239-6900

Mount Airy

Mount Airy Police Department

205 Center Street Suite 203, Mount Airy, MD 21771

301-703-1375

Greenmount

Carroll County Sheriff North Carroll – Satellite Office

2255 Hanover Pike, Greenmount, MD 21074

410-386-2464

New Windsor

New Windsor Fire Department

101 High Street, New Windsor, MD 21776

410-635-6373

Wherever you are in the state of Maryland, you can find your closest drop-off location on this interactive map courtesy of the Behavioral Health Administration.

If you or someone someone you know needs help with substance use or addiction,

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Call the Carroll County Health Department at 410-876-4449 (8am-5pm) OR

Call 211, and press 1, anytime for info and treatment options,

TREATMENT DOES WORK!

The Good Samaritan Law

(Ch. 375–SB 654)

The “Good Samaritan Law” was amended October 1, 2015. “The law expands protections for individuals who seek medical assistance after witnessing or experiencing an overdose. A person who, in good faith, seeks, provides, or assists with the provision of medical assistance after an overdose is immune from arrest, charge, or prosecution for six non-violent alcohol or drug crimes.”

“Violations covered by this law are possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia or controlled paraphernalia, underage possession of alcohol, and furnishing or obtaining alcohol for underage persons.”

Contact Us
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Carroll County Health Department
Bureau of Prevention, Wellness, and Recovery
290 South Center St, Westminster
Local: 410-876-4449
Toll Free: 800-966-3877
Carroll County Health Department Website
“Not In Carroll” Facebook Page