Lane Community College and the LCC Department of Safety partnered up with the Drug Enforcement Administration to participate in the ninth annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 27. The state of Oregon alone collected over 14 thousand pounds of unwanted opioids across all 60 collection sites, setting a record high for the state during the April collection event. The DEA expects to reach a total of ten million pounds across the nation after Saturday’s collection.
For the last nine years, the DEA has offered a pharmaceutical drug drop-off to anyone with unwanted or expired pharmaceuticals in an attempt to fight the opioid crisis. This is a no-questions-asked program where anyone can drive to any number of drop off locations and safely dispose of their unwanted narcotics.
According to the Oregon Public Authority website, an average of five Oregonians die every week to opioid overdose. Oregon reportedly has one of the highest overdose rates in the nation. The use of painkiller-related drugs has drastically increased over the last ten years.
The majority of overdoses in Oregon are the result of abusing both prescribed and illegally obtained opioids. Many of these addictions are the result of unneeded and unused prescription drugs being left in the household, where they end up in the wrong hands due to poor storage and lack of disposal. The disposal day hopes to solve this problem.
The motivation behind the program was to provide a safe and convenient way to properly dispose of prescription drugs. It also gives agents a chance to inform the public of the importance of disposing unneeded narcotics and the likelihood of misuse when not properly disposed of. The DEA hopes that by offering this nationwide service, people will step up and do their part to prevent drug abuse and overdose.
One individual who already recovered from opioid addiction believes this program may be a step in the right direction, but won’t stop the root of the problem. Individuals who reported previously having a narcotic addiction stated that the take back day wouldn’t have helped them.
Some of them even said there were similar programs in place that they didn’t take part in, for various reasons.
“Most of the time, if I had any kind of drugs, I used them that night,” an individual who asked to remain anonymous said. “I wasn’t saving some for the next day.”
The individual also said that the only thing that helped them get over their addiction was a low cost recovery home. Many recovery homes cost money and for people trying to recover from addiction, there usually isn’t a lot of money for treatment that hasn’t already been used on drugs.
“If there was a safe and reliable way to drop off these kinds of drugs in pursuit of getting clean it would be a different story,” the anonymous individual said. “But only if it’s no questions asked as well.”
LCC is one of over 5000 national collection sites which grossed nearly two million pounds of pharmaceuticals this year alone.