By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Across the U.S., many household medicine cabinets have old pill bottles tucked away … just in case they are needed later.
That tendency to save prescriptions is adding to the opiate crisis in the nation, according to local law enforcement, public health and education leaders.
An estimated 75 percent of opiate addictions start with prescription drugs.
“One piece of our heroin problem is in our medicine cabinets,” Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said Wednesday during a press conference at his office. Once people no longer need their prescribed medications, many have the habit of hanging onto them. “I’m just going to hold onto this till I need it someday.”
But too often, those drugs are found and used by someone other than the original patient.
So local officials in Wood County have established safe drug disposal boxes in five locations that are available year-round and round-the-clock to people wanting to dispose of old drugs. National Drug Take Back Day is Oct. 28, but the Wood County Educational Service Center, Wood County Sheriff’s Office, Wood County Health District, and some law enforcement chiefs throughout the county want to offer disposal sites 365 days a year.
“We cannot make significant gains in combating the drug epidemic by simply taking back our unneeded prescriptions one or two times a year,” Kyle Clark, director of prevention education at the Wood County Educational Service Center, said. “Our community needs to take action now.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration approved permanent drug take-back boxes in Wood County are located at:
- Bowling Green Police Division, 175 W. Wooster St.
- Perrysburg Police Department, 300 Walnut St.
- Perrysburg Township Police Department, 26611 Lime City Road.
- North Baltimore Police Department, 203 N. Main St.
- Wood County Sheriff’s Office, 1960 E. Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green.
The drugs are collected from the boxes by the DEA, which incinerates them.
“If people would be diligent in cleaning out their medicine cabinets, they can take advantage of these boxes we have around the county,” Wasylyshyn said.
“This will go a long way in keeping youth from getting hooked on painkillers,” Clark said.
Wood County Commissioner Ted Bowlus presented a proclamation at the press conference, declaring every day as a drug take-back day in Wood County.
“This proclamation symbolizes the fight” against opiate addiction, he said.
Last year alone, at least 4,149 people died in Ohio from accidental opiate overdoses. Bowlus recognized the law enforcement, public health and education officials who teamed up for this effort to get old drugs out of homes.
“This is a battle that we’re fighting against opiate addiction,” he said.
The drug take-back boxes are intended for dry pills only, not liquids. For people looking for a safe way to dispose of liquid drugs, Dterra pouches that deactivate medications are being made available. The Wood County Educational Service Center has distributed the pouches to local schools and senior centers, where they are available at no cost.