Returning prescriptions to help curb opioid crisis


After almost every doctor visit patients leave with a prescription that needs to be filled.  Medicine with strict guidelines of when to take it and how.  When the sickness is cured or pain stops hurting people are stuck with the problem of what to do with their old medicines, some of which can be a hazard to those in the household. The opioid crisis is a national epidemic.  Everyday families face the struggle of addiction to pain medication.  Local agencies are taking part in trying to curb that through a national effort.

“I used to flush them or throw them away”, says Anna Gravagno.

Anna Gravagno, like many others,  stopped by the 2nd Street Walgreens in Loves Park to add to the pile of prescription pills.  The pharmacy and the Loves Park Police Department teamed up for a solution and held a prescription take back event.  Collecting any kind of medications people had and weren’t using anymore .  The Take Back Event is part of a national push to get rid of old or unused prescription bottles.

“There’s a lot of emphasis on medication use, but not disposal”, says Walgreens pharmacist Adebola Erogbotbo.
Gravagno adds, “it’s not safe for them to be available just to anyone so it’s better to find a safe place to get rid of them”.
“From expired medications to medications patients are no longer on, if they get discontinued or put on another medication that have this backlog of medication that build up in their cabinets” Erogbotbo said.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says this a crucial public safety and health issue.  According to their website over 6.2 million Americans have misused prescription drugs.  Those drugs are often times taken by family and friends.. from the medicine cabinet.

“It’s extremely easy to get addicted to it, especially these opioids. Especially for  treating various conditions like pain”, Erogbotbo says.
“I don’t want to have drugs around the house where the kids can get them, or you know people coming over. It’s just safer this way”. added Gravagno.
Erogbotbo added, “this is another way of removing some of that excess amount of medication and the supply out of the streets off of the streets to ensure that it doesn’t perpetuate the ability of people to get addicted to these medications”.

Boxes and boxes were filled with bottles.  Not only is this a way to help curb the opioid crisis but it’s a way to help the environment.

Erogbotbo says, “most of these medications cannot end up in landfills so this was gives all our patients an opportunity to bring that all the medications”.

You don’t have to wait for another Take Back Event to bringing back old or unfinished medications.  Some Walgreens Pharmacies have a permanent drop off center inside, click Drop off center locator to find one near you.

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