CAVE SPRING, Va. (WFXR) — On Saturday, Sept. 7, volunteers from LewisGale’s Cave Spring ER and the Roanoke County Police Department will host their first “Crush the Crisis,” an opioid take-back event. The purpose is to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and proper disposal of prescription medications.
“As we all know we have a huge opioid epidemic across the country, especially here in Southwest Virginia. LewisGale Medical Center has had some great success inside the hospital to reduce opioid use and now we want to shift our focus to the community,” says Trey Akridge, Director of Pharmacy at LewisGale Regional Health.
Drug overdose deaths continue to rise in the U.S., particularly in the Commonwealth. In 2017, there were 1,241 drug overdose deaths involving opioids in Virginia—a rate of 14.8 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons.
Last week, Governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginia’s Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation (FAACT), a data-sharing platform designed to help the state fight the opioid crisis, will expand to the Roanoke Valley and continue operating in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
LewisGale is one of the 65 hospitals in their healthcare system participating in this event.
“We actually started last year in our Nashville division. They had some really great success. They actually collected 220 pounds of opioids in a weekend and that translates to 100,000 doses of opioids taken off the street,” says Akridge.
Community members are invited to safely and anonymously dispose of unused or expired prescription medications at the Cave Spring ER.
According to a release from LewisGale, the hospital system will take back the following medications during the event:
- Tablets, capsules, and patches of Hydrocodone (Norco, Lortab, Vicodin)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
- Tramadol (Ultram)
- Fentanyl (Duragesic)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Oxymorphone (Opana)
They will NOT accept needles, syringes, lancets, or liquids.
Once medications are dropped off in the collection bins, volunteers will package them and send them to be destroyed.
LewisGale plans to host more of these events in the future.
“We actually have other drug take-back days throughout the year, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA], but now we actually have containers across the community that the DEA has sponsored as acceptable ‘take back’ areas,” says Akridge.
“Crush the Crisis” will take place this Saturday, Sept. 7, at LewisGale’s Cave Spring ER from 9 a.m. to noon.