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Tyler PD hosts prescription drug take-back on April 28

Special to Liberate

A prescription drug take-back event will be held by the Tyler Police Department as a way to keep leftover prescription drugs out of the wrong hands and off the street.

The Tyler event is part of the larger DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) Takeback, and will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28 at various locations across the country. It is a concerted effort by law enforcement across the country to prevent prescription drug abuse.

The event is organized by the federal agency every spring and fall. Local law enforcement agencies across the country agree to set up a location where residents can dispose of their leftover prescription drugs, no questions asked.

The majority of teens who abuse prescription drugs say they get them from friends or family, sometimes without their knowledge, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Prescription drugs are dangerous when they aren’t prescribed to you or when you take them in a way other than the way they are prescribed.

“Taking someone else’s prescription, like Adderall, can cause irregular heart beat and seizures; and abusing pain medicine like Vicodin can restrict breathing. Prescription pain relievers, stimulants, and antidepressants can all have serious side effects if abused—that is, taken in ways or for a reason or by a person not intended by the prescription,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens website.

Opioids, a category of strong prescription drugs, are particularly dangerous. These drugs are responsible for the majority of overdose deaths, which is now the largest cause of accidental death in the United States.

“In 2016, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) was 5 times higher than in 1999. From 2000 to 2016, more than 600,000 people died from drug overdoses. On average, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. We now know that overdoses from prescription opioids are a driving factor in the 16-year increase in opioid overdose deaths. The amount of prescription opioids sold to pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’ offices nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2010, yet there had not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans reported. Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled since 1999.”

Though prescription drug abuse is an epidemic, Christy Balduf with the East Texas Substance Abuse Coalition says that many residents do want to do the right thing and safely dispose of their drugs.

“Many people understand how dangerous leftover prescription drugs can be; whenever we participate in these events, we always have residents who thank the officers for providing the service and want to know when the next event will be,” she said.

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