Crushing the crisis: BPD and VRMC partner to fight addiction - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Crushing the crisis: BPD and VRMC partner to fight addiction

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Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2019 8:30 pm

Valley Regional Medical Center in partnership with the Brownsville Police Department participated in the “Crush The Crisis” drug-take-back day, where dozens of families disposed opioid painkillers on Saturday.

The campaign is organized by HCA Healthcare and hopes to curb the misuse and addiction to prescription pain relievers.

The medical center served as a collection point to safely, and anonymously, dispose the opioids at a drive-through outside of the center. There, BPD took the medicines from individuals and placed them inside a collection bin.

“We want to remove opioids from the community so that children (and) adults don’t get to use these drugs and start developing an addiction,” Irwin Riezenman, director of pharmacy at the Valley Regional Medical Center, said. “This is the first drive we have had and we assume we will have many more.”

This event simultaneously took place across the country to educate communities about the dangers of opioids and offer a safe way to dispose of prescribed medications from their home.

“It’s a great event that we’re partnering up with the city and the police department to take back any opioids and get them off the street, so it doesn’t get in the wrong people’s hands,” Mariana Tumlinson, director of community and public relations at Valley Regional Medical Center, said. “We want to make sure that we are keeping our community safe and avoiding situations where people can have access to drugs that can become highly addictive.”

According to a 2015 survey, the DEA stated more than 6.4 million Americans abused prescription drugs. Many of those cases, the agency study showed, involved the abuser getting pills from a family member’s or a friend’s medicine cabinet, the press release from the event reads.

“It’s a no questions asked event. Right now we are only going to do it once a year but I also encourage people that if they have narcotics or opioids that they want to get rid of, the Brownsville Police Department has places where they can drop them off,” Tumlinson said. “Just don’t keep them around the house. If you don’t need them just get rid of them and make sure that they’re disposed safely.”

Prescription opioid use is also a significant risk factor or gateway to heroin addiction. The National Institute of Drug Abuse found that 86 percent of young, urban injection drug users had used opioid pain relievers non-medically prior to using heroin. Their three main sources for obtaining opioids were family, friends or personal prescriptions, the press release reads.

For more information about the “Crush The Crisis” campaign, visit hcahealthcare.com/crushthecrisis.

nreyna@brownsvilleherald.com

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