Drug ‘Take Back’ Day to be held Saturday

Law enforcement agencies in Patrick County and the City of Martinsville will be among those to accept medications for proper disposal during Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

On Saturday, Martinsville residents may drive through and drop off old prescriptions between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.at the Martinsville Fire Department.

A drop box is available year-round during regular business hours at the Henry County Jail.

The ‘Take Back’ event offers individuals the opportunity to dispose of unused or expired medications, especially prescription opioids, before they can be misused, abused, or accidentally ingested, according to a release from Attorney General Mark R. Herring.

“Far too often opioid addiction starts at home in the medicine when old or unused prescription medications fall into the hands of someone who could abuse them,” said Herring. “Taking your unused prescriptions to a Drug Takeback location is such an easy way for Virginians to dispose of potentially dangerous drugs. I want to encourage everyone who might have unneeded prescriptions in their homes to take a few minutes out of their weekend to bring them to one of these locations to be disposed of. This is such a simple step that will make our homes and our communities much safer.”

There is a strong link between misuse of prescription opioids, opioid addiction, and even subsequent use of heroin once prescriptions become too expensive or are no longer accessible. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Heroin abuse is 19 times more likely among those who abuse prescription opioids.

Half of young people who used heroin got started by abusing prescription opioids.

One in fifteen individuals who misuse prescription opioid painkillers will try heroin within 10 years.

Studies show a link between the availability of prescription and illicit drugs and the likelihood of abuse.

In Virginia, opioid overdose deaths have risen steadily since 2010:

Heroin overdose deaths have risen more than 1,056% between 2010 and 2018, from 48 to 555.

Fentanyl deaths have risen by over 1,593% percent from 2007 to 2018, from 48 to 813.

Prescription opioid overdose deaths have risen 19% between 2007 and 2018, from 400 deaths to 477.

The heroin and prescription opioid epidemic has been a top priority for Herring. He and his team continue to attack the problem with a multifaceted approach. He has supported federal efforts to improve the availability of treatment and recovery resources and made prescription drug disposal kits available across the Commonwealth. Herring recently outlined his recommended next steps for combating the crisis, focusing on law enforcement initiatives, support from the medical community, and recovery, treatment, prevention and education. He and his team also continue to participate in a multistate investigation into the practices of additional drug manufacturers and distributors to determine what role they may have played in creating or prolonging the crisis and what accountability they should face.

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