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NV Battles Overdose Deaths With "Prescription Drug Roundup"

PHOTO: Law enforcement officials hope the DEA's Prescription Drug Roundup event helps reduce the state's high rate of deaths linked to prescription drugs. Photo courtesy U.S. Army.
PHOTO: Law enforcement officials hope the DEA's Prescription Drug Roundup event helps reduce the state's high rate of deaths linked to prescription drugs. Photo courtesy U.S. Army.
April 25, 2014

RENO, Nev. – Hundreds of people die from overdoses each year in Nevada, according to law enforcement officials who are counting on a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency program in Washoe County on Saturday to help the state lower that overdose death rate.

Lt. Teresa Aquila with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office says the program, the Prescription Drug Roundup, provides drop off points for prescription and over-the-counter medications.

"So by us hosting these in conjunction with DEA, it allows people to get rid of their unwanted, unused, and outdated prescription medication that otherwise would be lying around,” she explains. “Plus, we don't want them to flush it down the toilet because then it ends up in our drinking water."

Aquila says between 2009 and 2011 there were more than 2,000 prescription drug overdose deaths in Nevada, with 110 of those occurring in Washoe County.

She adds that prescription drugs such as Oxycontin are causing the majority of the overdose deaths.

Aquila says removing drugs from the medicine cabinet is eliminating what has become a major source of narcotics for drug users.

"Studies have proven that the prescription drug abuse, the ability to collect those, or I should say get possession of those, is through friends and family," she says.

The drug roundup locations are at Raley's, Save Mart and Walgreens.

They're operated by law enforcement because of the handling of controlled substances.

Aquila says the roundups have collected more than 1 million prescription pills since the program started in Washoe County about five years ago.


Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV