Linn County Sheriff’s Office collected 42 pounds of prescription drugs during Take Back Day

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Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

On Saturday, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office collected 42 pounds of prescription drugs as part of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s nationwide Take Back Day.

The sheriff’s office had three collection sites where people could anonymously drop off expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs. This year, people were encouraged to drop off e-cigarettes and vaping devices for the first time, along with prescription meds.

Over the past six months, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office has collected close to 700 pounds of prescription drugs. During the drug take-back event in April, Iowa collected a total of 11,680 pounds of prescription drugs.

While the next take-back day won’t be until spring, people can still drop off unwanted prescription drugs at the sheriff’s office’s drug drop box in the parking lot of the west side of its building at 310 2nd Ave SW, in Cedar Rapids. The DEA has an online tool that provides the locations of other drop-off points.

The DEA launched the twice-yearly take-back events in 2010, calling them “a crucial step toward reducing the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is plaguing this nation.”

In related news, Hy-Vee announced on Oct. 24 it will install drug take-back receptacles in all of its 276 pharmacy locations by Nov. 7, to “further assist in combatting the national opioid epidemic.” As part of that effort, the pharmacies will also limit the initial quantity of prescribed opioids that are dispensed in certain situations. And people are now able to buy naloxone — a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose — without a prescription at Hy-Vee.

“Installing drug take back receptacles in all of our pharmacies is one more step Hy-Vee is taking toward combatting the opioid epidemic,” Kristin Williams, Hy-Vee’s senior vice president and chief health officer, said in an October news release.

In 2017, Linn County had 20 deaths and close to 100 emergency room visits linked to opioid overdose.

Earlier this year, the Linn County Opioid Steering Committee released an action plan to fight opioid misuse. The report includes recommendations centered around preventing opioid misuse, reducing opioid-related deaths, providing training to first responders and improving advocacy.

“This report comes to you at a time when opioid use disorder has become a serious challenge and major public health epidemic in the United States; Linn County is no exception,” Pramod Dwivedi, health director at Linn County Public Health, said in an Aug. 30 news release.

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