The growing epidemic of opioid addiction is leading the local police department to take measures necessary to raise awareness of the issue.
In an effort to raise awareness of accidental overdoses due to opiates and heroin, the Clinton Police Department will be offering an educational series, beginning Monday, on opioid overdose awareness. For one week each month, the department plans to post information regarding different subjects on Facebook, with February’s topic focusing on the growing problem of accidental overdoses.
“There are a lot of prescription and drug overdoses,” Jean Ko, police department employee who is spearheading the initiative, said. “This definitely should be brought up to the public.”
Each day next week, Ko will deliver the information via the department’s Facebook page. The plan is to help educate the public on how to take control of addiction from the patient’s point of view, and ultimately prevent the overdosing.
“This is just an additional step we are taking to educate the public on a growing problem,” Ko explained.
The educational series isn’t the only step the police department is taking. A permanent medication disposal box is now housed at the department as a location the public can feel safe to take their medication for proper disposal.
“We ask the residents to bring any narcotics, strong pain medicines, that you can’t dispose of, to the medicine drop box,” Sgt. Robbie King said.
King will monitor the drop box and on a rotation schedule, empty the contents and log them into the department’s system. Once documentation is made, King said the medicine will then be properly disposed.
“It’s important to discard any unused or outdated medication that can be harmful to anyone, especially if children get it in their hands,” King explained. “You also have a lot of people who are breaking into homes, looking for those narcotic drugs. Getting the medicine out of the house will help keep homeowners safe.”
According to King, items that are accepted include any expired, unused, over-the-counter and prescription medication in a pill form. It is recommended that all medications be transported in a marked container. Needles are accepted only when packaged in a rigid-walled, puncture resistant, sealable, sharps container.
Prohibited items include vitamins, liquids, creams, aerosols, batteries, combustible or radioactive materials.
Since the late 90s, King said the problem with abusing prescription medication has steadily grown. Having the medication drop box, he added, allows the medicines to be properly disposed of and kept from the hands of a someone who could possibly overdose.
Medication can be dropped off at the department any time of day, Monday through Friday and on Saturdays and Sundays.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.