New Measure in Place to Combat Prescription Drug Overdoses in Miss.By Jeffrey Hess | Published 11 Jul 2013 06:37am |
Mississippi safety leaders are taking new steps to fight prescription drug abuse which is responsible for nearly all drug over doses in the state. The state is placing secure drop boxes in in places where people can safely dispose of unwanted drugs.
The boxes are going in all the drivers license bureaus around the state and the Department of Public Safety headquarters in Jackson.
Public Safety commissioner Albert Santa Cruz says the spread of prescription drugs has pushed pills passed tradition drugs in their level of danger.
"Drug dealers on street corners selling marijuana or cocaine are a problem but the primary threat now comes from prescription drug abuse," Santa Cruz said.
Santa Cruz says prescription pills were responsible for 90-percent of the 234 drug over dose deaths last year.
Nearly $120 million doses of one of the most common pills, Hydrocodone, were dispensed in Mississippi in 2012.
Bureau of Narcotics director Marshall Fisher says out of date or unwanted drugs can be safely drop off and will be destroyed.
"We will have an evidence disposal unit that will periodically check these. That will be dependant on how full they get. No questions asked. We are not going to be going through and testing these. If they drop it off, they drop it off," Fisher said.
"Anyone can become addicted. it is a very addictive process,"
That's Angel Skinner a nurse with the Jackson Pain Clinic.
She says even for people who are attempting to use the drugs for legitimate reasons can misuse them or become addicted.
"It changes their whole life. I have seen people that have lost everything because of a pill. They have lost their families. They have lost their jobs. They have lost income and housing simply because of addiction to pain medication," Skinner said.
Each box costs around $1,000 and is about the size of mini-refrigerator.
Only a select number of drug enforcement agents will have the codes to open the safe and remove the drugs.
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