ABC12 News at Noon: Tackling the drug problem and how you can help

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(WJRT) - (10/17/19) - Together we can stop this deadly epidemic.

Photo: US DOJ / DEA

According to the state's Opioid Addiction Resources page, "Prescription drug misuse is a serious problem in Michigan. Drug overdose deaths are on the rise across the state."

Two types of prescription drugs are the leading cause of misuse - painkillers (opioids) and tranquilizers (benzodiazepines). Opioids include both illegal drugs, such as heroin, and prescription pain medicine. Common opioids used to treat pain include oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, methadone, and codeine. Synthetic opioids are contributing to the crisis, too. Synthetic opioids that are appearing across Michigan include fentanyl and carfentanil. These drugs are far more powerful and deadly than other opioids and are frequently mixed with heroin, often times without the user knowing.

Michigan State Police is working in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other law enforcement agencies to hold a Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 26 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at 30 MSP posts across the state. You're being asked to use it as an opportunity to dispose of unused, expired, or unwanted pills, so they don't end up in the wrong hands.

All collected pills will be destroyed with no questions asked.

According to state police, a majority of abused prescription drugs are acquired from family members or friends, including those stored in the home. It can also be an environmental hazard to throw them in the trash or flush them down the toilet.

Click here to look up drop-off locations across the state and to learn more from the DEA about the opioid crisis and what's being done to combat the issue.

If you need treatment, visit this resource page or call the national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Abuse Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). They can put you in touch with local resources.

The DEA also wants you to know about Red Ribbon Week being recognized October 23-31, 2019. According to statistics from the national campaign, children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don't, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations. You can take the pledge online to be drug free to create a better tomorrow.

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