Drugs in the house can be as dangerous as those on the street – Tulsa World

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Sand Springs police encourage residents to dispose of unwanted medications year-around in these collection boxes that the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control has placed in the Police Department’s lobby at 602 W. Morrow Road.
The importance of getting drugs off the streets is something a lot of people can agree on these days, but often overlooked in those conversations is the importance of getting unneeded drugs out of the house.
In 2019, nearly 40 million doses of opioid medication were prescribed to Tulsa County residents, according to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control.
Between 2016 and 2022, 641 Tulsa County residents died from accidental prescription opioid overdoses, and 55% of those deaths occurred in the home, according to the Tulsa Health Department.
Curbing those deaths is a primary goal of the biannual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, planned this fall for Oct. 29.
As part of the event, hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration, the Sand Springs Police Department and a number of other locations around the Tulsa metro area will serve as dropoff points for people to get rid of unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs.
“Anything we can do to mitigate kids’ access to drugs is helpful,” Deputy Police Chief Todd Enzbrenner said.
“A lot of times, a family member whose elderly parents have moved to a nursing home or passed away is looking for a place to get rid of” the medicines that accumulated in the home, he said.
Contamination of landfills and waterways is a secondary but still important purpose of the Prescription Drug Take Back Day events.
When people throw (medications) in the trash, they get in the landfill or the water system,” Enzbrenner said. “This is a way to do our part to prevent pollution of the chemicals in our waters and our landfills.”
It’s true that the vast majority of medicines collected during Prescription Drug Take Back Day events are not narcotics, but it’s still important to understand how medicines can be combined by drug traffickers both to increase the potency of the drugs and to make them less detectable to untrained eyes.
The Tulsa Police Department’s Special Investigations Division recently recovered 5 kilograms of Xanax and fentanyl pills while serving a search warrant. The drugs amounted to an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 dosage units, Tulsa police said.
And while Tulsa police said they’re still working to get more dangerous drugs off Tulsa’s streets, Enzbrenner said deadly potent, illicitly manufactured fentanyl “is everywhere.”
“To think that none of those 40,000 pills would not make their way to Sand Springs is probably stretching it a bit,” he said, adding that while it’s difficult to combat that, it’s basic police work.
“We try to start at the trafficking level, of course, Enzbrenner said, but “from our perspective, education about things such as this drug takeback and good old-fashioned police work” go a long way.
“We’re just hoping that the epidemic that is sweeping the country on fentanyl and opioids doesn’t mess with our community very much,” he said.
Enzbrenner said Sand Springs police have seen four to five incidents in the past year in which authorities have given someone Narcan, a prescription medication that can be administered in an emergency situation to a person who has overdosed on narcotics.
“That’s not a lot, even for a community of our size,” he said.
Addiction is a big problem, he said, adding that some drug abusers can nearly die, be revived, and yet still return to abusing drugs.
That’s a good enough reason not to hang onto unwanted, unused or expired drugs, he said.
The Prescription Drug Take Back Day drive-through event will run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29.
Inhalers, liquids and medical marijuana will not be accepted. Syringes will be accepted at select locations noted below.
Covanta and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control also will be providing free at-home medication mail-back kits in addition to disposal kits at selected sites.
Drop-off locations:
Sand Springs Police Department, 602 W. Morrow Road
Walgreens, 2323 W. Edison St. in Tulsa
Walgreens, 1332 E. 31 St. in Tulsa (syringes accepted)
Reasor’s, 3915 S. Peoria Ave. in Tulsa
Elks Lodge, 5335 S. Harvard Ave. in Tulsa
Walmart, 4720 E 21 St. in Tulsa
Crime Stoppers at Tulsa Promenade mall, 4107 S. Yale Ave., Tulsa (northwest parking lot by JCPenney)
The MET Recycling Center, 3495 S. Sheridan Road, Tulsa
Reasor’s, 7114 S. Sheridan Road in Tulsa (syringes accepted)
Reasor’s, 11116 S. Memorial Drive in Bixby
Reasor’s, 11550 N. 135th East Ave. in Owasso
Walmart, 1300 E. Albany St. in Broken Arrow
For Sand Springs-area residents who are unable to take part in the Oct. 29 drive-through event, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control has a program in cooperation with the Sand Springs Police Department to collect prescription medications year-around.
Unwanted drugs can be disposed of in one of two mailbox-type containers that are located between two sets of exterior doors leading into the Police Department’s lobby. When the collection containers are full, police call the state drug agency to empty them and dispose of the drugs properly.
This free event is made possible by the Coalition Against Prescription and Substance Abuse of Tulsa, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Tulsa Health Department, the city of Tulsa, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Metropolitan Environmental Trust, Reasor’s Foods, Tulsa County Social Services, Think Smart OK, the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, the Sand Springs Police Department, Safe Kids, Oklahoma Harm Reduction Alliance, the Elks Lodge, Tulsa Public Schools JROTC, Walgreens, Walmart, the Owasso Police Department, the Tulsa Police Department, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and the Crime Stoppers Network.
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Sand Springs police encourage residents to dispose of unwanted medications year-around in these collection boxes that the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control has placed in the Police Department’s lobby at 602 W. Morrow Road.
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