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Hundreds Get Rid of Unused or Expired Prescription Drugs

November 01, 2018 10:31 AM

(ABC 6 News) -- Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. In Rochester, Mayo Clinic teamed up with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office to teach the public about disposing of medications.  

"We are not exempt from the Opioid epidemic here in Rochester. We know there are issues with opioids, that people are abusing them, selling them, diverting them," said Chair of Mayo Clinic Opioid Stewardship Program, Dr. Halena Gazelka.

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Dr. Gazelka said that the problem can begin with overprescribed medications.  

"Even here at Mayo Clinic, we found that a lot of overprescribing happens."

Dr. Gazelka said that most people keep extra pills in their cabinets, even when they have finished the prescription.

"That allows their friends, relatives, children, adolescents to have access to medications and misuse or divert them," said Dr. Gazelka.

Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson says this is the root of some crimes in the community.  

"We've had incidences where people have been going in and burglarizing homes and all they are looking for is medicine cabinets and stealing the drugs. We've had people who go and visit homes that are for sale and go and distract the realtor to go in and take drugs out of the medicine cabinets," said Sheriff Torgerson.

That’s why the Sheriff’s Office teamed up with Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center and Zumbro Valley Medical Society for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

The community was able to drop off their unwanted medications at the Gonda Building. Later, the prescriptions will be transported to the Mankato incinerator.

Even after the day is over, people can still properly dispose of medications 24/7 at the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center.

Dr. Gazelka hopes that having places to dispose of medications will make a difference in the community.

"We are doing this for Rochester. We know we have issues in our own community and we want to be patient advocates," said Dr. Gazelka. 

Credits

Talia Milavetz

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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