By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
When it comes to medication, there’s a good chance that someone at one point or another has been prescribed one. In 2013, the Mayo Clinic reported that 7 out of 10 Americans are on a prescription drug. Of that amount, over half took at least two.
The report found that antibiotics, antidepressants and painkillers or opioids were the most common.
While some prescriptions are for long term use, others are prescribed for shorter periods of time.
For example, after surgery a person may require some opioids to help relieve the pain. Once the person is recovered they may not need the full dosage and as a result have pills left over. When it comes to leftover drugs, the right things to do is to dispose of them properly.
Last week, Wisconsin held its Drug Take Back Day. During this day, Wisconsinites were invited to dispose of their unwanted and leftover medication. Although, boxes and agencies are available year-round to dispose medication, this day served as a catalyst. Attorney General Josh Kaul said that Wisconsin collected 58,408 pounds of unused medication.
“Thousands of Wisconsinites turned out to dispose of unused and unwanted medications,” Kaul said in the press release. “Thank you for helping us fight the opioid epidemic.”
For years, the opioid epidemic in Wisconsin and especially in Milwaukee has been on the rise. It’s recently been receiving wide spread attention as the number of opioid related deaths continue to rise.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse reported that in Wisconsin in 2017, 926 people’s death were opioid related.
NIH reported that many of the deaths involved fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. In 2012, fentanyl related deaths totaled 56, but in 2017 it totaled 466. There was also a 30 percent increase in deaths related to prescription opioids. NIH found that the number grew from 273 deaths in 2012 to 362 deaths in 2017.
However, according to NIH, “Wisconsin providers wrote 52.6 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons.” Compared to the rest of the states, Wisconsin was among the lower end for prescription rates.
Yet, the number of deaths is Wisconsin due to opioids has increased.
More and more people are becoming addicted to opioids and as a result will do whatever it takes to gain access to them. For some people, this means stealing other people’s prescriptions before they can properly dispose of them.
The opioid epidemic cannot be conquered in one night, but there are steps that can be taken to decrease the chances of further opioid related deaths. Even though Drug Take Back Day has come and gone, it is never too late to properly dispose of prescription medication.
To find out more on how to properly dispose of prescription medication go to https://doseofrealitywi.gov/.