Local groups spread awareness with National Drug Take-Back Day

Published: Oct. 24, 2020 at 9:45 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The nation may be focused on the Coronavirus pandemic right now, but local law enforcement and prevention programs spent Saturday raising awareness on another crisis destroying people’s lives.

“We partnered with the D.E.A, and Walmart is letting them do it at their facility today, so we’re taking back medications people don’t want, whether it’s extra medications or medications they just don’t take anymore,” said GIPD Crime Prevention Officer Jason Wood.

Grand Island Police, the Nebraska State Patrol and the Prevention Project stood outside the North and South Walmart locations in Grand Island from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some people brought bags full of their old prescription drugs to be disposed properly.

“The best opportunity we have to prevent opioid misuse in Hall County is to get it off of people’s counters,” said The Prevention Project Coordinator Katie Usasz.

Often, people don’t even realize they’re becoming addicted.

“The way the process starts is someone begins taking pain medication for a legitimate purpose, becomes addicted to it before they even know it, and eventually those pain medications run out, and they seek drugs in other places,” Usasz said.

It takes as little as five days to become dependent on opioids.

“The more pain a person experiences, the more medicine they take, the more medication that they take, the more that their body is really experiencing that pain, and we start that addictive cycle,” Usasz said.

Prevention Experts recommend people talk to a doctor or substance abuse program if they’re struggling with addiction.

Usasz said don’t wait until the next Drug Take-Back Day to get rid of unused drugs. People can go to this website to find a pharmacy near them to take prescription drugs. People can also call the Central Nebraska Council on Alcohol and Addiction at (308) 385-5520 to get help or for ways on how to store and get rid of unused medications.

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