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Take Back Day helps combat opioid epidemic

Altus Times - 10/17/2017

National Drug Take-Back Day is coming up on Oct. 28 in an effort to combat what Oklahoma’s Attorney General Mike Hunter has deemed a state epidemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that deaths involving opioid pain relievers have been climbing and now surpasses deaths involving heroin and cocaine in the U.S. And Oklahoma is not exempt from the rise.

The CDC ranks Oklahoma ninth in the nation for the rate of overdose deaths involving opioid pain relievers. The epidemic inspired Oklahoma’s Attorney General Mike Hunter to sue more than a dozen manufacturers of opioid pain medication in June, calling deceptive marketing campaigns fuel for the state’s opioid epidemic.

Hunter told the Associated Press that the companies are culpable for the number of Oklahomans who become addicted to or who have died as a result of prescription painkillers in the state.

The epidemic, as Hunter calls it, has also captured the attention of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The Opioid Prescribing Guidelines for Oklahoma Workgroup was created to produce guidelines for Oklahoma prescribers. The communication between clinicians and patients about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy for pain management, OSDH believes, could improve the safety and effectiveness of pain treatment and reduce the risks that can come along with long-term opioid use.

The OSDH reports that the most common drugs involved in prescription painkiller overdoses are hydrocodone, oxycodone and alprazolam, exceeding the number of overdose deaths involving methamphetamines, heroin and cocaine combined.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency began the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day initiative in 2010 emphasizing the proper disposal of unused prescription drugs.

According to the DEA, accidental poisonings and opioid overdoses have been linked to prescription drugs obtained from a friend or family member’s medicine cabinet.

Though some communities have places where prescription drugs can be turned in throughout the year, National Drug Take-Back Day places emphasis on the importance of proper prescription drug disposal. In October 2016, 731,269 pounds of prescription drugs were collected on National Drug Take-Back Day.

In Jackson County, prescription drugs can be dropped off at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at 600 S. Main St. year-round.


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