When I was asked to appear live on News 10’s morning show, I didn’t realize for some reason (exhaustion perhaps?) that the live morning show was, well, live. In the morning. They asked me to have some props ready, so since the topic was the national prescription drug take back event, I gathered some drugs.
I borrowed a ounce of marijuana from someone with a prescription who actually fills the prescription (I have a prescription, but only because of my research into the process; I don’t use it). Did you know your 18 year old child can drive around town with eight ounces of marijuana legally if it has been “prescribed” to them? Anyway, I digress…
I don’t need to look far in my home to find Rx meds. My wife, Lisa, was in a car accident several years ago, rear-ended by– you’re not going to believe this– a young woman high on prescribed pain killers. My wife was stopped; the car that hit her was traveling at 60 mph. Lisa has endured nine back procedures over the last few years. So we know firsthand people do need pain meds for pain. We also know the other side.
I know there are mass quantities of unused prescription painkillers that sit in medicine cabinets across this country.* Pain killers in our home, the home where our addict-in-remission son lives, are locked in an RxDrugSafe, secured with fingerprint technology.
At 4:30 am I set up my kitchen in preparation for the shoot. I used my finger and got those pills and others and put them into Ziplock baggies. I prepared the kitchen counter with the artistry of a well-trained sous chef. Loose pills, pill bottles, the Oxy instructions/warning packet, the ounce of pot stuffed into a quart size Mason jar, and looked around for more props.
Something I believe is that these prescription drugs, used inappropriately, are deadly. A parent wouldn’t leave his handgun on the table, neither should he leave his pills. So I decided to put one of my pistols on the counter, with the bullets and clips next to it, in the hopes that I could get the reporter to show the Rx drugs and the guns together as a kind of analogy– both of these things need to be locked up. Finally, I grabbed a handful of hundred dollar bills I had retrieved for the occasion.
In a frenzy of activity, roving reporter Kate Larsen walks in the door at 5:07 am. “What is all this stuff?” she asks, and as I try to tell her, she is talking to people in her headset and barking “mike check mike check” and moving my stuff around. It was a crazy first segment, but the camera manages to get a sweeping shot of the counter I have so carefully staged. Check out all the segments here, on the media page.
Just before the second segment, a sergeant from the Roseville PD (where I did the bust for Brandon) comes in for his piece. He immediately notices the jar of pot and the weapon. I also put my medical marijuana card on the counter, which he looks at.
“Why is there a gun on the counter? I’m not comfortable with a gun on the counter,” he said. So I said, “Well, you have a gun, and you are in my house. My gun is unloaded, which you are welcome to confirm for yourself.” He promptly did so. He shook his head and asked, “Where did this money come from?”
Money. This money was lawfully earned and temporarily borrowed from my bank account. However, on the street, this money would buy a few prescription pain pills. Now that the formula for Oxy has changed, an old-style 80 mg pill goes for $100. Or more. One pill. Pills mean money, and your kids (and the lady that comes in to clean your house, etc.) know it.
The Sergeant doesn’t quite know what to make of me, but we ended up using all the props, and hopefully got the message out there that all of this contraband is part of the Rx drug epidemic.
*BTW, the national drug take back events around the country netted The Drug Enforcement Administration says people turned in more than 188.5 tons of unwanted or expired prescription medications in the agency’s third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Oct. 29, according to this article.
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