BRANSON, Mo. – Cases of opioid abuse are on the rise across the country and here in the Ozarks.
Organizations in the Stone and Taney Counties area are urging people to drop off unused and unwanted prescription drugs in various drop boxes.
They said it’s essential to make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
“It can fall into the hands of children, dogs, other people, illegal uses to get other people’s prescription drugs,” said ADAPT Coalition member Cris Bohinc. “Of course what’s relevant for everyone is that it gets into our drinking water, our lakes.”
Since many people have prescriptions at home that they no longer use, depots provide a safe way to dispose of medications.
“It’s shocking how many people are bringing in the drugs,” Bohinc said. “Some, maybe for some sad reason. Maybe they lost an elderly family member who took a ton of medication, or they never cleaned up with old aspirin or Tylenol.
One of the drop off locations is at the Branson Police Department.
“Usually when we’re dealing with young people and prescription drugs, when we ask them how they got them, it’s very rarely the typical drug dealer,” said EJ Jones of the Branson Police Department. “They usually get it from aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers.”
The organizations involved said dropping off unused medications is essential for more than just National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
They said drug abuse is at the forefront of their concerns.
“Nobody, I think, ever wakes up and wants to get addicted to narcotics or something, but it starts small,” Jones said. “Then, like most problems, they snowball.”
The Branson Police Department said at its last takeover event it received 215 pounds of unused medication.