‘Don’t be the dealer’: Officials ask communities to stand up against rising drug epidemic

Local News

UTAH (ABC4) – Public leaders are urging the citizens of Utah to bring any unused or expired medication to their offices.

April 24 kicks off Drug Take Back Day.

National Drug Take-Back Day is dedicated to ensuring residents stay out of harm’s way and are up to date with all their medication. The initiative is an opportunity for people to safely dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired medications, and unwanted e-cigarettes or vaping apparatuses.  

According to the Salt Lake County Office, April 24 aims to support the healthy lives of Utahns, their overall objective for this day is to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.

May be an image of text that says 'Provider writes prescription Patient disposes of medication Patient receives prescription Patient uses DisposeRx on unused medication Safe Medication Management Pharmacist dispenses medication Educates about disposal Patient takes medication responsibly Patient stores medication esponsibly'
Courtesy of Sandy Police Department

“Prescription medications can cause harm in the wrong hands,” they inform. “The majority of misused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, and are often taken from their home medicine cabinet.”

Many public authorities and agencies urge the state to take the national reminder seriously, one of them being Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes.

“Prescription drug abuse, particularly for painkillers, has risen to epidemic levels nationwide, and Utah is no exception,” shares Attorney General Reyes. “Prescription drugs, when administered and taken responsibly, can be a productive tool for pain management. But far too often, what begins innocently can lead to dependence and devastation.”

According to the Sandy Police Department, it is essential to throw out all unused and expired medication in your home because keeping them holds a handful of unintended risks.

Unintended risks of unused medications include:

  • Drug diversion
  • Drug misuse and abuse
  • Accidental ingestions and possible poisonings
  • Medication confusion (which especially affects the senior population)
  • Overdoses
  • Suicides
  • Antibiotic resistance

“Prescription opioid misuse is an ongoing and escalating epidemic, and 70% of opioid dependence, overdoses, and deaths begin with leftover drugs in the medicine cabinet,” they add.

Officials say opioids are one of the most dangerous drugs found lying around homes.

“No community is immune,” AG Reyes adds. “Addiction touches rural and urban areas, uptown or downtown neighborhoods alike. And whether we realize it or not, our medicine cabinets may be where addicts are looking next or where they may have already been.  By teaming up on Take Back Day with partners like the DEA, AARP, and businesses and citizens across our state, we will recover hundreds, if not thousands of pounds of prescription drugs.”

Anyone interested in standing up against unused and old medication is invited to dispose of their substances at a nearby drop-off location. Locations for disposables can be found here and at knowyourscript.com.

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