Law enforcement officers are urging Mississippians to help fight drug abuse by turning in their unused prescription pills this weekend. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Law enforcement officers on the front lines of the opioid epidemic say getting prescriptions people are no longer taking out of their medicine cabinets, is one way to fight the addiction crisis. Derryle Smith is with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Mississippi.
"The majority of drug abusers start with taking prescriptions from family members. People are at a real risk for this," said Smith.
Smith says the DEA is holding a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day tomorrow. People can turn in unused prescription pills at designated locations across the state.
"There are no questions asked. You go to one of the drop off locations put it in a box. We don't ask for names. We don't do anything like that," said Smith.
John Dowdy is with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. He says there have been 170 drug overdose deaths in Mississippi so far this year. He says about 70 percent or more are attributed to opioids and he says that number may increase. He says a prescription drug take back event held in April collected about 4,500 pounds of pills.
"There's still plenty more out there and folks need to do their due diligence looking in their medicine draws and medicine cabinets, try and get rid of that, keep it out of the hands of kids and other people that maybe seeking the drugs," said Dowdy.
Dowdy says they're ramping up drug enforcement and holding town hall meetings in cities and on college campuses to educate people about opioid abuse. He says collecting and destroying unused prescription pills can save lives. Visit DEATakeBack.com and type in your zip code or city and state to find the collection site nearest you. The event is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.