Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office hosts National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

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The opioid crisis continues to rip through the country, and law enforcement is working to keep prescription drugs out of the wrong hands.

On National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, 205 pounds of prescription medications were collected in Hennepin County on Saturday.

Law enforcement set up more than 50 sites for Minnesotans to drop off unwanted, leftover medications.

“No judgement, we want you to bring your stuff in,” said Sgt. Joel Svenby with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.

He said once the drugs are brought in, they’re boxed up and sent off to be destroyed properly.

The event comes as the opioid crisis worsens during the pandemic. Data from the Minnesota Department of Health showed deaths involving prescription drug use were actually declining before COVID-19, but from 2019 to 2020 there was about a 53% increase in deaths involving commonly prescribed opioids such as Vicodin, Percocet, Morphine and Methadone.

“I think just people staying inside, and it’s a damper on your life; it’s a damper on your psyche, and I could see how someone would go to an opiate to just dull that,” Sgt. Svenby said.

In efforts to turn this around, events like Saturday’s are held multiple times a year. Some local pharmacies and law enforcement branches also accept unused medication.