Community Health

Local and national law enforcement officials say they are going to keep prescription drugs off the streets by taking them.

Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad, U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman and others on Friday announced the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which happens Saturday, Oct. 28.

State and federal law enforcement officials partner for the semi-annual event to provide drop-off locations for expired and unused prescription drugs. Citizens can drop medications at the sites anonymously.

Kyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Officials announce the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Coleman said parents must discuss the issue with children and keep medicine cabinets secured.

“What we’re talking about today is an internal threat. It’s the equivalent of a loaded gun sitting in your medicine cabinet,” Coleman said. “Use this as an impetus to discuss this threat with your kids. Our kids are worth too much, the risk is too great and the margin of error is just too slim.”

Experts say prescription drug abuse has played a key role in the national opioid crisis, pushing over-prescribed users into addiction and drug use. Semi-synthetic opioids — including Oxycodon, Hydrocodon and Heroine — killed more than 14,000 people in 2016.

President Donald Trump addressed the opioid crisis this week, calling the issue a national public health emergency.

Through the drug take back initiative, officials have gathered 450 tons of prescription drugs in the U.S. Kentucky’s collections amount to more than 11,000 pounds of the national figure. Last April, the state collected 9,752 pounds.

LMPD Chief Conrad didn’t know how much of the 11,000 pounds Kentucky gathered this April came from Jefferson County. Conrad said the increasing number of drugs turned in represents an increase in prescription drugs being given. He said he and expects eventual changes to be made through state legislators.

“We have seen far too many overdose deaths in our community and we have an opportunity tomorrow to stop deaths in the future,” said Conrad. “This is about saving lives. This is about making Louisville a safer community.”

Kentucky’s Office of Drug Control Policy said the state will have 73 drop-off locations scattered among 39 counties for Saturday’s drug take back day.

Residents can drop off medications Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Collections sites are listed here.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.