DENVER (CBS4) — More than 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day. The DEA, pharmacies, state governments and now Google Maps are working to keep prescription drugs out of the wrong hands.
“A lot of what we’re dealing with right now is making sure patients understand that if we ween them off medication, and get them to a point where they don’t use as much, to get rid of it as soon as possible,” said Denise Finn-Zinn, Director of Nursing at New Health Services.
However, getting medication out of the house isn’t that simple. You can’t flush them or throw them in the trash — but doing nothing can be the worst option.
“Young children are exploring in the home, teenagers are exploring in the home. Someone could take them from mom’s cabinet, or dad’s cabinet, and bring them to school. I think we’re seeing the impact of that now,” said Finn-Zinn.
The majority of prescription drug abuse begins with drugs taken from family and friends.
“They don’t know how they’re going to react or what’s going to happen and that’s when people get into trouble,” said Finn-Zinn.
Drug drop-off events and programs are an effective way to safely dispose of medication. However, they’re usually at temporary locations for a limited time.
Google Maps partnered with the DEA, HHS, CVS, Walgreens, and state governments to help people locate permanent disposal sites.
Users can type in queries like “drug drop off near me” or “medication disposal near me” and Google Maps will locate permanent disposal locations at a nearby pharmacy, hospital, or government building.
Colorado is one of the first states where this feature is being rolled out. After the launch of the pilot program, Google says they will continue to add more locations.