LOGAN — Around 100 people stopped by Mount Logan Middle School Thursday night to drop off expired and unused medications during a prescription drug take back event. The conference was organized by the Cache County Sheriff’s Office, Bear River Health Department and University of Utah College of Pharmacy.
Deputy Damian Openshaw told the group that prescription drug abuse is one of the biggest problems in Cache Valley. Many medications are more powerful than street drugs, making them more addictive and dangerous.
Sheriff Chad Jensen has been in law enforcement for 26 years, working in the Drug Task Force before becoming Sheriff. He said it is frustrating to see the same people arrested over and over because of their addictions.
“Within the last year, we had three generations of a family in jail at the same time, all for the same addiction type problems,” he explained. “It is a horrible thing for a family to go through and it’s a horrible thing for our county to deal with.”
Jensen said there have been positives, though. While working for the sheriff’s office, he has seen lives changed as people have overcome their addictions.
David Watkins, Prevention Coordinator at the Bear River Health Department also spoke. He said one of the easiest ways for families to protect themselves from addictions is to properly dispose of unused medications.
“There is no safe amount of unsaved prescriptions in our medicine cabinets,” Watkins told the group. “We need to get rid of those. Seventy-four-percent in Utah that are addicted to opioid medication get them from a family member or friend.”
He recommended that prescriptions never be thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. Instead, they can be dropped off at the sheriff’s office and any of the local police departments.
Jensen said around 17 lbs. of prescriptions were collected Thursday night during the event, including packaging and containers.