UYLC Offers Free RX Medication Lock Boxes

In an effort to reduce access to opioids and other prescription drugs which have the potential for being abused, Upriver Youth Leadership Council (UYLC) is hoping to ensure unused medicines are secure. Through a grant from the Idaho Office of Drug Policy they will provide free prescription medication lock boxes to community members to keep their medications – and kids who might try them – safe.
Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem, most particularly among teens. Teens often do not realize the dangers of different medications, believing that since the medications were prescribed by a doctor, they must be safe. They are easy to obtain, as most homes contain medication in their cabinets. According to FACE, a Prevention Resource Group, "Every day 2,500 youth from ages 12-17 abuse prescription painkillers for the first time."  This is not just happening among older teens. FACE also comments that "Prescription drugs are now the drug of choice among 12-13-year old’s."  The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids suggests that you approach securing your prescriptions the same way you would other valuables in your home, like jewelry or cash. Even if you do not have teens or children in your home, realize that many of these medications have street value, and could easily be stolen, sold, or used by someone without a prescription. By taking your medications out of the cabinets and securing them in a place only you know about, you may be able to reduce the chances of young children getting ahold of them, them being stolen, or teens misusing/abusing prescriptions. 
Sharlene Johnson, UYLC president, said while she and others understand this effort won’t end the opioid epidemic, it will bring awareness. “It’s not a solution by any means,” Johnson said. “It’s more of a preventative measure. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly half of young people who inject heroin abused prescription opioids first. Keeping medication locked up at home can help. Reducing access to prescription drugs that have the potential for being misused can prevent future abuse. Today, just about every Kamiah family has been touched by the opioid epidemic in one way or another. It’s a good way to be able to start opening the lines of communication to talk about this,” Johnson said. “Let’s not just be in the dark about it. It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort to try to reverse the trend.””
UYLC was founded in 2017, representatives include youth, parents, businesses, media, school personnel, library staff, law enforcement, religious groups, health care workers, local government and substance abuse specialists. UYLC’s mission is to empower youth and adults to build a healthier community through prevention leadership with the primary goals of fostering leadership and resilience skills in community youth; preventing the initiation of youth substance use; and strategically build a collaborative, sustainable prevention infrastructure.
Prescription medication lock boxes can be obtained free of charge at the UYLC office at 413 Main Street in Kamiah. For more information about receiving a free prescription medication lock box or other UYLC activities, email or visit the website at .

By Jace Sams, YAB Vice President
and Jace Johnson, YAB Treasurer
One of the most addictive drugs on the planet is one of the least talked about. It affects anyone from the elderly all the way to newborn babies. Its name is nicotine. Nicotine is found in cigarettes, vapes, chewing tobacco, and much more. The one thing that all of these items have in common is that they are legal and easy to access which makes it the largest growing drug epidemic in the world. The biggest demographic it is affecting is teens.

The most common nicotine use with teenagers is vaping. Let's break down what's in one hit off of a vape. Nicotine travels to the brain within a startling 7-10 seconds and attaches to the receptors where the neurotransmitter acetylcholine would normally dock. Basically, it causes a chain of chemical reactions that influence multiple bodily functions. When nicotine reaches the brain, it releases adrenaline, this increases the heart rate and blood pressure. In result, it restricts blood flow to the heart. This drug will also slow the production of bone-producing cells called osteoblasts, making bones heal and generate much slower. Somehow, this isn’t even the worst chemical found within a vape. Included is flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical which is linked to serious lung diseases. Also, heavy metals can be found within them such as lead, copper and nickel. Three things that should probably not be inside of your body.

One of the nation’s dying nicotine trends is the classic cigarette. Although teen usage is significantly lowering thanks to anti-drug campaigns such as (Be the generation that ends smoking) it still remains to be a problem in our local communities. There are too many off putting ingredients within them to list them out, but the most harmful ones are the following; Acetone (A paint remover), Acetic Acid (An essential ingredient in hair dying products), Arsenic (A key component of rocket fuel), Cadmium (a vital part of battery acid), Tar, Lead, and Carbon Monoxide. From 1991, statistics for teenage smoking have went down 28%, the lowest it has ever been. Even though smoking cigarettes is becoming less popular it is still a problem that needs attention. Second hand smoke affects people nearby a cigarette, and third hand smoke affects anyone's clothes in the vicinity of a smoker. Both can cause headaches, sinus infections, and even cancer.

Another form of nicotine is chewing tobacco. For the most part it isn’t a huge problem with teens and resides mostly with older white men. Smokeless tobacco also contains the ingredients in a cigarette along with Polonium 210 (Nuclear Waste) and Benzine (Found in insecticides and motor fuels). Snuff causes diseases such as cancer, leukoplakia, heart disease, and even gum and tooth disease. Some social effects include discolored teeth and facial hair, along with bad breath. Easy quitting methods include using tobacco-free chew alternatives, or nicotine patches.

Overall, nicotine on its own isn’t as dangerous as all the aforementioned drugs. However, it is a gateway to them. Nicotine is a growing trend in our world due to the rise of vaping and juuling.

YAB supports anti-tobacco programs, last Spring we hosted a Kick Butts Day at Kamiah Schools. YAB’s mission is to be a youth voice to prevent substance use by providing a safe environment. YAB is open to all youth grade 6-12th. If you would like to become part of group, we meet the second Wednesday of every month at 6:30 pm at the YAB office, 413 Main Street, Kamiah. For more information please contact
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