Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and Mayor Ben McAdams (Salt Lake County), along with the Salt Lake County Health Department and the Utah Drug Enforcement Agency hosted a roundtable to discuss ways to facilitate the proper disposal of controlled substances.
“2 million Americans are addicted to, or abuse opiate-based painkillers. Utah is currently ranked fourth in the nation for most opioid related deaths,” Stewart said. “These drug addictions are destroying opportunities and devastating families and communities across the country. This problem is greater than one single solution, but the proper disposal of unused medications is one way to begin making a difference and saving lives. That’s why today’s discussion about improving access and convenience of the proper disposal of opioids is so important.”
“Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem that hurts too many families,” said Mayor Ben McAdams. “Congressman Stewart recognizes that this widespread issue requires a collaborative community response. Today we came together – pharmacists, law enforcement, health experts, government agencies – to compare notes and work more closely toward the shared goal of reducing opioid abuse, making our communities safer and healthier.”
20 years ago, the Salt Lake County Health Department established a program to install medication drop boxes in police stations throughout the community. For the past year, the Health Department has worked to develop a pilot program to facilitate the implementation of these boxes in retail pharmacies.