New drug disposal kiosk to help the opioid epidemic

A local pharmacy is adding resources to fight the opioid epidemic. Lawmakers and first responders think it’s a good move, but more needs to be done to end the problem.

The CVS Pharmacy on 30th and Broadway has a new prescription med drop off kiosk inside where people can drop off unwanted or expired medication.

Lawmakers hope this creates more awareness about the issue. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. 

"There are more people that die by opioid overdose than car accidents," Illinois rep. Darin LaHood said.  

To help fight the battle, CVS started this drop off kiosk to prevent addicts from going into cabinets and taking drugs. 

"I think this is a great thing for families to have these facilities to go and dispose it," Linda Niekamp from Coatsburg, Illinois said.  

Illinois congressman Darin LaHood visited the kiosk this morning and said this is a small step in fighting a tremendous challenge. He says doctors are over prescribing. 

"I think that goes with pharmacists too," LaHood said. "We now have database in place in the state of Illinois that we work with the office of professional regulation that monitors the overprescribing of opioids. We need to make it a strong program with an enforcement mechanism that holds doctors accountable." 

LaHood said a lot of people are turning to other avenues if the prescription drugs aren’t doing enough.

Lieutenant Justin Twaddle with Quincy Fire Department said people are turning to heroin and carfentanil and it’s becoming more common for first responders on medical calls. 

"We don’t carry enough narcan really to reverse that. We are typically going to do is manage the airways the best we can and keep them alive until they go to the hospital because they have more capabilities," Lt. Twaddle said.  

LaHood and others hope this kiosk spreads awareness about the issue. 

"I think it is a big problem,"Niekamp said. "It could be bigger than any of us know. I have not been affected by directly, but it is something that we need to be concerned about. " 

In total, CVS Health has facilitated placement of more than 1,650 drug disposal units nationwide, which have collected more than 436,000 pounds, or 198 metric tons, of unwanted medication.

The National Institute of Health announced a new "HEAL" Initiative to research opioid addiction this year. 

Congress gave the institute a boost of funding to the project from 600 million to 1.1 billion dollars. 

The institute said the Midwest saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017.

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