ROCHESTER, Minn. - Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a time when people are encouraged to safely rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, or unwanted drugs. Olmsted County usually holds a drive-up drop-off event, but it is canceled this year because of COVID-19. There are other take-back events still happening in Southeastern Minnesota and North Iowa. Click here to find one near you.
You can always drop off your unwanted prescription medications in a bin within the front doors of the Adult Detention Center any time of any day.
The pandemic is putting added strain on the country's opioid epidemic. More than 87,000 Americans died of a drug overdose between September 2019-September 2020 according to CDC data. The problem is even more troublesome in Minnesota, where overdoses jumped 32%, which is higher than the national average.
Judy Greske is a Mayo Clinic Ambulance paramedic in Duluth. Her son Jason Dobosenski was prescribed an opioid after a car accident. In the years to come, he battled addiction. Jason died from a heroin overdose in Mankato in September 2020. It was laced with fentanyl. Greske wants people to reframe how they think and talk about people struggling with addiction. "We should not be turning our backs on people with addiction problems. He felt it every time a medical professional or somebody treated him like an addict, treated him like he didn't deserve to be helped or loved. He felt it every time someone treated him disrespectfully," she says.
Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson describes the opioids, meth, and heroin the country is seeing coming in from Mexico and South America is mind-boggling. "We're not going to enforce ourselves out of this epidemic. This is something we all have to get on top of, be conscious of, and do everything possible to stop it," he explains.