FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) — A new tool has been unveiled in the effort to fight the opioid crisis in Allen County.
Mayor Tom Henry was joined by Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan to announce the new tools promoting safe drug disposal.
During the announcement, Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative Indiana announced it will be providing 15,000 safe drug disposal kits to various groups and coalitions in northeast Indiana. These kits will allow people to easily and safely dispose of unwanted and unused prescription medication.
“Safe drug disposal could keep someone prone to addiction from ever trying an opioid,” said Mayor Henry. “Safe disposal could save lives and thanks to these resources and education, we are another step closer to controlling this epidemic.”
Back in August, lawmakers, healthcare specialists and law enforcement officials gathered in Fort Wayne Monday morning to discuss what they call a very complex issue.
The Associated Press reports more than 63,600 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016. Two-thirds of them involved a prescription or illegal opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Research shows that more than 60 percent of Americans prescribed opioid painkillers reported keeping leftover medication in their home medicine cabinet long after ending use.
Congressman Banks at the roundtable. Banks said the House has been busy working on combating the opioid crisis and finding ways to leverage federal funding and resources on the federal levels to support the state and local efforts.
Judge Wendy Davis joined the discussion, speaking on some of the challenges she sees in the courtroom while battling the opioid epidemic. Davis said they have good systems in place and are working collaboratively with providers like Park Center and Bowing Center to try to figure out how to best combat opioids.
“Unfortunately, it is not going away quickly,” Davis said. “So, we are going to keep fighting the fight in the court system. I think that Allen Co court System through our Probation office, community corrections, our pre-trial, we really have good staff that is helping us as judges understand it better and try to figure out how to deal with it, so the true non-violent offenders can get the help they need.”
Safe drug disposal pouches will be available at the Drug and Alcohol Consortium of Allen County’s headquarters at 532 W Jefferson Boulevard and will be distributed at community events throughout the year.