DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Helps Curb Opioid Addiction

KENMORE, N.Y. -- In the garage at Kenmore Mercy Hospital, volunteers are sifting through and cataloging thousands of prescription pills. They're pills collected as part the Drug Enforcement Administration's Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

''This probably came from one particular household," said said Patricia Siola, Catholic Health. "You can tell by the way it's bagged together it came to us in that way. So, think about the opportunity that we've had. How great it is that we offer this event where somebody could take all of these unwanted medications and eliminate any risk that there could be of them getting into the wrong hands, getting into the environment. We're here to take these medications and dispose of them properly." 

Siola says, sadly, unused prescription drugs often for many becomes the first step towards opioid addiction.

"It's a very quick process when patients take those opioids after surgery that they become addicted," Siola said. "When they become addicted they're no longer legally able to legally get the prescription because the physician feels that the time that they need it has passed, and unfortunately they then go the street for what they can get which is heroin."

William Houston says he had some unused prescription pills at home.

"It's a good idea that the media keeps that word out there so people have an understanding that it's not only an ecosystem safety act, but it's also helping little ones and helping people to be safe. It's a safety factor as well, " said Houston.

The drop off comes just days after the state committed $213 million to opioid treatment and prevention. Siola says it's all part of the puzzle in addressing this crisis.

"We need effective programs, we need effective facilities that can take care of people who have succumbed to addiction," said Siola.

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