MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is sponsored the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The event has more meaning this year with the country seeing a rise in opioid related crimes and overdoses.
Earlier this month Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar put the epidemic into perspective.
“We’re losing about 50 people a day. [If] you think about that, it’s like two classrooms,” she said.
Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek for some time has been leading the charge to try curbing the numbers in the Twin Cities.
“In 2016, Hennepin County saw 144 opioid related deaths — 144 deaths is about a 31 percent increase over the 110 deaths in 2015,” the Sheriff said in a January news conference.
Minnesota’s Attorney General, Lori Swanson says 80 percent of heroin users started abusing medications, and it’s not just an urban problem.
“It has become more frequent than I’ve seen in the past,” said Sgt. Chris Wood of the Eden Prairie Police Department.
Wood has been with Eden Prairie Police for 18 years. He says every month they’re dealing with an overdose or an opioid related call, and those using the drugs are finding them easily.
“There are different prescription drugs that are actual opioids themselves,” Sgt. Wood said. “And they’re a lot more readily accessible than street drugs because they’re prescribed by doctors, picked up at pharmacies and a lot of people find them in their medicine cabinets at home.”
Some of the most dangerous and addictive include OxyContin and Oxycodone. That’s why the DEA is pushing people to get rid of those drugs by dropping them off on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which is Saturday.
In Eden Prairie you can drop them off at the Eden Prairie Senior Center.
The DEA says since 2010 more than 3,601 tons of prescription medication has been collected and disposed of at Take Back events.
Click here to find the dropoff location nearest to you.