The Carter County Substance Abuse Prevention Committee, together with area law enforcement, will collect expired or unused prescription drugs Thursday, Nov. 9.
An officer in a marked car will pick up medications from noon to 4 p.m. that day at the homes of participating Carter County residents. Officers picking up drugs will not be able to accept liquids, inhalers or needles.
The event is coordinated by the Wichita Mountains Prevention Network, Ardmore Police Department, Carter County Sheriff’s Office and Ratliff City Police Department, according to a press release.
Regional Prevention Coordinator Taylor High with Wichita Mountains Prevention Network said the program was inspired by fellow area coordinators who have seen success with similar events.
The organization hopes to reach disparate rural areas that have less access to proper disposal outlets.
“After just speaking with local pharmacists and doctors, they really expressed the need to reach out to our rural populations,” High said.
The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services says prescription opioids can be addictive and dangerous, taking only small amounts to become dependent upon substances that may prove to be unhealthy and potentially lethal.
The state department ranks Carter County second in the state for number of opioid-related deaths, and fourth for unintentional prescription drug-related deaths.
Opioids alone killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record, according to ODMHSAS. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription.
Ardmore Police Capt. Keith Ingle said the Wichita Mountains Prevention Network approached APD with the idea.
Overdose-related calls that officers respond to are often related to how secure prescription drug users store their drugs. He recommended lock boxes to prevent accidental overdoses.
“The boxes are to prevent small kids or teenagers from getting to the drugs without parental control,” Ingle said.
Complimentary lock boxes and bags will be given to those who request them for a safe disposal receptacle on a first come, first served basis.
Area residents may also drop off unused or expired medications at a drop-box inside the Carter County Sheriff’s Office, Chickasaw Nation Ardmore Senior Center or the Chickasaw Nation Ardmore Health Clinic Pharmacy.
Call (580) 340-4907 to arrange a pickup with the Wichita Mountains Prevention Network. The deadline to arrange a pickup is by noon, Nov. 8.