ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — LewisGale Regional Health System, alongside Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) sister facilities across the Commonwealth and the nation, hosted a ‘Crush the Crisis’ opioid take-back event on Saturday.
COVID-compliant drug take-back sites with drive-thru disposal were located at LewisGale Medical Center Cave Spring ER, LewisGale Hospital Montgomery, the Covington Walmart, and at the Pulaski Food City.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 70,630 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2019. More than 70 percent of those deaths are attributed to opioids.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, opioid usage has continued to increase throughout the United States.
The goal of the ‘Crush the Crisis’ event on Saturday, Oct. 23 is to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and proper disposal of medications. Members of the community were invited to safely and anonymously dispose of unused or expired prescription medications.
LewisGale Medical Center’s Pharmacy Director, Trey Akridge, says this is a national health crisis and it’s important to get the drugs off the streets since children are also being harmed.
“Every minute of every day, poison control centers receive a phone call about a child that’s had an accidental overdose,” said Akridge.
Thurman Butts, a Roanoke County police officer, says from experience that addictions usually start out innocently.
“I’ve come into contact with multiple people who I’ve had to arrest,” said Butts. “I always try to ask them, what got you to this point to where you are right now. Almost always, the answer with heroin or fentanyl is prescription medications.”
LewisGale Regional Health wants people who may be dealing with addictions to take advantage of all the community resources they have to offer. Some of those resources are enhanced surgical recovery, alternatives to opioids programs, and their ER.
LewisGale says they collected 120 pounds in disposed medications at their Cave Spring location and a total of more than 500 pounds at their other three locations.
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