Teaming up to combat the opioid crisis

Doctors say for some, it only takes one dose to get hooked on prescription pills and efforts like these take-back events can make a difference. (Photo Credit: WLOS Staff).

Keeping people from abusing prescription drugs - that's the goal of a statewide effort to combat the opioid crisis.

"Last year over 64,000 people died of opiate overdoses in the United States,” says Dr. Blake Fagan, a family physician and Chief Education Officer with MAHEC.

"The number one reason that people get into their opiate use disorder - that's the new term for opiate addiction - is from prescription medications,” adds Dr. Fagan.

He is coming up on 20 years of practice in Buncombe County and tells News 13 he sees the impact of prescriptions getting into the wrong hands.

"I have stories of kids that say the way they got started was taking their grandma's medicine when they came over to their grandma's house,” says Dr. Fagan.

He shares how his colleague fell victim to having prescription medication stolen while having furniture delivered.

North Carolina Attorney General, Josh Stein, is pushing to get unused pills out of homes. "They are a magnet to people with addiction and young people making bad decisions,” he says.

That's why he is teaming up with agencies across the state for medication take-back events.

Doctors say for some, it only takes one dose to get hooked and efforts like these can make a difference.

"It really is an insidious start and if you can get those out of the cabinets so that that temptation is not even there, I think that we can save lives,” says Dr. Fagan.

For more information on Operation Medicine Drop in Asheville, click here.

To see a list of permanent prescription medication drop-off locations across the state, click here.

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