MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — National Night Out marks an opportunity for neighbors across the country to get to know one another, while also promoting community-police relations.

This year, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, along with police departments throughout the county, hope to educate local communities about the dangers of opioid abuse, while providing them with medication disposal pouches as a safe and convenient way to dispose of their unwanted and unused medications.

“We are fighting opioid abuse and overdose on multiple levels, including medication disposal,” Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said.

Police will have 50 vehicles, 30 teams and almost 90 people handing out the pouches Tuesday at several celebrations throughout the county. Residents can also pick up pouches for their National Night Out neighborhood party at the Sheriff’s Office Enforcement Services Headquarters in Brooklyn Park.

The pouches were donated by the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI), which is an alliance of national, state and local organizations working to find solutions for America’s opioid crisis.

“It’s critically important that we safely dispose of old or unused prescriptions to help lower the risk of addiction in our communities,” Linda Carroll-Shern, Deputy Vice President of PhRMA, a national partner of RALI said.

Hennepin County had 174 opioid-related deaths in 2017, marking a new record high for the county. Through the first half of 2018, numbers have shown improvement, falling from 14.62 deaths per month to 11.8.

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