(CBS4)– Opioid addiction is a national health crisis, with the CDC estimating more than 33,000 Americans died from a drug overdose attributed to opioids in 2018. On Oct. 24, HealthOne hospitals are doing what they can to “Crush the Crisis.” They are holding an opioid take back day where people can properly dispose of expired or unused medications.
“We know that the number one killer of Americans when it comes to the opioid epidemic is prescription drugs, and so often people get access to these in medicine cabinets and through medications that have suddenly been left around after they’ve been prescribed,” says Dr. Don Stader, ER physician at Swedish Medical Center. “How we can protect our communities is by really decreasing the supply of prescription opioids in medicine cabinets across Colorado.”
Since the pandemic began, 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related deaths. For every 10 suspected overdoses reported in May 2019, 14 overdoses were reported in May 2020. Here in Colorado, overdoses are already up 35% compared to last year.
“The opioid epidemic really drags on underlying psychological factors,” says Dr. Stader. “So the fact that we have increased anxiety, increased depression, and increased isolation, often make more people start using or misusing opioids, and with that comes the increased risk of overdose.”
If you’d like to help “Crush the Crisis,” just bring your medications to Swedish Medical Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center, or the Medical Center of Aurora on Saturday, Oct. 24. The drug take back event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Needles, syringes, lancets or liquids will not be accepted and COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place including wearing masks, social distancing, and drive-through collection options.