The last time this survey was done in 2018, twenty-eight South Dakotans had died from drug overdoses. Twenty-eight. The number of parents, siblings, other family members, friends, and loved ones devastated by this occurrence is much, much higher.

"Half of all drug overdose deaths involved opioids" in South Dakota according to an NIH (National Institutes of Health) study.

Nationally, the number of drug deaths surpassed 81,000. This was the highest number of drug overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12 month period in our country. Experts believe that the stress and anxiety associated with the COVID-19 pandemic drove the numbers so high. To even imagine the number of people deeply affected by these deaths boggles the mind.

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Over 20 million people in the U.S. abused prescription drugs according to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use & Health. The most stunning finding from this study was; "a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet."

For all of these reasons, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies and pharmacies, two decades ago began The National DEA Prescription Take Back Day.

This 20th Anniversary event is happening on Saturday, April 24th from  10 AM to 2 PM. You can find a Sioux Empire collection site by using the locator on the "Take Back" page online. But if you happen to miss Take Back Day you can find year-round disposal locations on the Department of Justice website.

There are so many reasons to participate in this Take-Back Day, not the least of which are;

  1. Keeping the drugs out of the wrong hands, preventing drug addiction and overdose deaths
  2. Keeping the drugs out of our water systems and drinking water. A USGS (United States Geological) study found significant amounts of pharmaceutical products in our water environments because treatment facilities do not filter out these drugs.

For more information see The National DEA Prescription Take Back Day website.

Sources: DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), U.S. Department of Justice, CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), USGS (United States Geological Service) NIH (National Institutes of Health)

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