FISHERS, Ind. – The opioid crisis is being felt in communities across central Indiana, and high school students are paying attention. Mason McCartney, a senior at Fishers High School, and his friend Soham Patil, a senior at Hamilton Southeastern High School, organized a drug take back event Wednesday at Billericay Park in Fishers. Their goal is to get unused drugs off the streets.
"Especially here in Indiana, the opioid crisis has become one of the biggest public health issues that we have,” said Patil.
It's a public health issue that affects millions of Americans, including teenagers.
“Yes we've actually seen it affect some of our peers," Patil said. "Especially when they’re athletes and they’re injured, they are often prescribed opiates as their normal prescription,.
According to the Partnership for Drug Free Kids, 1 in 4 teens report abusing prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime. Two thirds of those abusing get them from friends and family.
"After they take a lot of them and their prescription ends, they end up getting addicted to it," said Patil. "And they move on to harder substance abuse such as heroin and things like that.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 80% of American heroin users say they started by abusing prescription drugs. These two teens want to show their community that teens are not only paying attention to the problem, they’re also taking action to fix the problem.
"We really do care about the community," said McCartney. "We see it's a big issue and we’re really just trying to help.”
"By doing something like this we are proving to other people that high school students know that there’s an issue and they want to do something about it," Patil said.
All of the medicine collected will be properly disposed of by the Fishers Police Department.