ROCHESTER, Minn. - The coronavirus pandemic has brought on many challenges for everyone and that's leading some people to turn to prescription drugs, increasing the nation's opioid epidemic dramatically. National Drug Take Back Day might not be happening in Rochester this year, but there is still a way to get unused medication off the streets.
There's drop off box is right inside the Adult Detention Center and it's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In previous years during the drug take back event at Mayo Clinic, Olmsted County collected hundreds of pounds worth of unused or expired medication. Millions of Americans struggle with substance abuse and the pandemic is only adding to it.
Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgersen said the mission behind Take Back Day is to make sure prescription opioids don't fall into the wrong hands. "Taking those prescription drugs that are now expired or unused out of the home, putting them in and getting rid of them is so, so very important," explained Sheriff Torgersen. "It could be helping someone in your own family."
Sheriff Torgersen said the pandemic has made it difficult for those who misuse to get their hands on prescription drugs, so he explained getting rid of anything that might attract them is key to lowering the opioid crisis. "They'll take them. They may not take the whole bottle, they may just take a few and throw them in their pocket and they don't care what they are," said Sheriff Torgersen. "That's the issue with addiction, is it's a really tough illness to crack and when they've got it, they'll go to any length to get it."
There will be deputies with the narcotics department there on Saturday for National Drug Take Back Day from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in case you need any assistance. The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office wants to stress that the drop off box is only for prescription drugs. Liquid and over the counter medications don't need to be turned in.