LACONIA — When Deputy Fire Chief Sean Riley's wife died of cancer last January, he found himself a young widower with children. Stephanie Riley had been very open and public about her illness but when she passed, Sean found himself with a different issue.
He realized he had nearly 40 different kinds of prescription drugs, any one which could have been lethal to one of his children.
"I should never have kept these in the house," Riley said yesterday as he prepared to put them all in the green drug dispensary box located in the lobby of the Laconia Police Station.
"The more heroin addiction I see, the more I realized I should have taken care of these properly," he said.
Riley, who was joined by Police Chief Chris Adams, Prevention Education and Treatment Officer Eric Adams (no relation), Dr. David Strang of the Lakes Regional General Hospital and head of the emergency room, LRGHealthcare Chief of Staff Dr. Paul Racicot and his friend and co-worker Assistant Fire Chief Kirk Beattie yesterday to kick off Spring Clean Up – Don't Forget To Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinets.
The campaign is being held jointly by the police and fire departments as well as LRGHealthcare to encourage people to safely dispose of all drugs they are no longer using – the prime option being to drop them in the green drug dispensaries at the Laconia and Gilford. In Meredith, residents are asked to bring unwanted medicine to the police department during business hours and they will be disposed of properly.
Racicot said so much heroin addiction begins when young people take their parents' prescriptions. He said in the case of some drugs, people will keep extra around in case they need it another time and at some point they're taking oxycodone for a mild headache and they they're addicted.
Many will turn to heroin because it's usually a much cheaper drug, Racicot said.
"We wouldn't be doing this," said Strang. "If it wasn't a major concern in the community."
Chief Adams said the collection box has proven to be quite popular and it is emptied weekly. The N.H. State Police bring all of the drugs to a disposal site in the southern part of the state.
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