National Prescription Drug Take Back Day happening this Saturday
Local officials will try to tackle the heroin epidemic at its root cause - prescription drugs. Columbus Public Health will be one of many places across the country setting up a drug drop-off on Saturday.
Dr. Teresa Long with Columbus Public Health said between 70 to 80 percent of heroin users become addicted from misusing prescription pills first. Overdose deaths continue to climb in Columbus and in the entire state. Long said getting rid of unneeded medications could help stop some people from becoming addicted in the first place.
"You may not need all that is prescribed and in fact maybe you shouldn't even take it all," Long said. "If there are pharmaceuticals that are unused in our medicine cabinets, under our sinks, in our closets, get them out."
Senator Sherrod Brown, Columbus Division of Fire and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office will be taking part in the drug drop off. Columbus Public Health will have people there to collect medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m Saturday. People will be able to bring pills, patches or needles with no questions ask.
Long said people can get addicted taking too many pills, children can overdose if they accidentally ingest them or teenagers can become addicted experimenting with pills they find around the house.
The pills collected will be incinerated by the DEA. Long said it's dangerous to flush them down the toilet.
"We know medications once they are flushed down they get into our water systems, our drinking water systems down river and in fact we can measure some of the medications down the river," she said. "We really want to protect everyone."
She said throwing them in the trash isn't any better because people will dumpster dive looking for pills.
Sheriff's deputies and firefighters at the event Monday said if someone misses the drug drop-off Saturday, they can still bring their unwanted medications to a police station or firehouse.
For information on where to drop off your unused or unneeded prescriptions, go to apps.deadiversion.usdoj.gov and enter in your ZIP code to see the closest drop off location.