TEMPE, AZ – The Tempe Union High School District is helping families get rid of leftover prescription medications.
The district will soon be the first in Arizona offering parents a powder called Dispose RX. When mixed with water, it converts dangerous drugs, such as opioids, into a biodegradable gel.
The scope is an extension of a health and wellness program offered to students at the seven Tempe Union high schools.
"It cleans the medications in your home and also stimulates conversation with your children about how important it is not to take prescription medications that have not been prescribed by a doctor," said district spokeswoman Jennifer Liewer.
On Tuesday, 9th grade students at Corona Del Sol High School attended a life skills class. Students learn about the difficult decisions they will have to make and group pressure.
Part of Tuesday's focus was on the use of drugs and alcohol. "The Tempe Union High School District has made it a priority to help students understand the effects of drug and alcohol abuse," said Liewer. "What we want to do at the secondary level is to prevent things from happening when they are older."
Classroom instruction augmented by visits from the Tempe Fire Department. "There really is nothing sugar coating. We want them to know the risks that exist," says registered nurse Dana Cárdenas, Emergency Medical Services Coordinator of the Tempe Fire Department.
At any time, Tempe residents can track the opioid abuse problem their city faces on the fire department's website.
Since the beginning of the year, EMS has dispensed 190 doses of Narcan, an antidote against an opioid overdose. Cárdenas is in charge of the extension program at the Tempe Fire Department, and talks about the students she says, "We want them to understand that it's not just a party. It's an end of life if they're not careful."
Tempe Union expects the prescription drug elimination program to provide a moment of teaching for parents and their children about prescription drugs. High schools will begin distributing Dispose RX to parents at school events that will begin next week.