While the news cycle is currently centered around the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is important we remember and shed light on other potentially devastating issues that impact our nation.
Aside from the pandemic, the United States is in the middle of a serious public health crisis that is hurting communities of all sizes. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost due to opioid addiction and abuse in recent years. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 70,000 people died from drug overdoses last year. Seven out of 10 of those deaths resulted from the use of opioids.
Prescription drugs can be a safe and effective way to manage certain conditions when carefully used as prescribed and monitored by your doctor. However, if misused, these drugs can cause much harm and destruction – especially when they find themselves in the wrong hands. A common example of mishandling opioids is when individuals leave unused prescription pills in their medicine cabinet and forget they are there.
Saturday, October 24, is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which aims to address this critical health issue. This annual initiative provides Americans an opportunity to responsibly dispose of unused prescription drugs while also raising awareness about the dangers of drug abuse. Over 23 million pounds of medications have been effectively collected across the nation since the first Take Back Day in 2010.
Due to the Coronavirus, collection sites may be limited in your area. If you or someone you know is looking to safely drop off any unconsumed medications, you can find more information about Take Back Day and specific collection sites on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s website at takebackday.dea.gov. If you are unable to participate in Take Back Day, unused drugs can also be disposed of year round.
In Congress, we have made great strides toward addressing this tragic epidemic that continues to destroy lives in the state of Alabama and the entire country. The problem has grown too large to solve itself, and while I am proud of the steps we’ve taken in Congress, much work remains in this fight.
American lives depend on leaders at both the federal, state, and local levels, and our work is far from being complete. We must remain unified and coordinated in our efforts so that we can continue to fight this battle with the aggression it requires.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.