CLEVELAND, Ohio – Police across Northeast Ohio collected unused and old prescription drugs on Saturday's 15th National Drug Return Day
"They want to get rid of them they're in your closet, but you do not know how, you do not want to throw them in the toilet, you do not want to throw them in the bin, so you'll take this opportunity if you take this opportunity, "said Debbie Rada, who is in The Lakewood Police Department stopped to unload a large bag of pills.
Discarding old prescriptions, especially unused opiates, are part of the nationwide response to the growing opioid epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most heroin addicts report that they start their drug addiction by abusing their own or prescription drugs.
"The opiates are being abused at record levels and of course our deaths are at record levels, so that's just another piece, another way law enforcement can deal with citizens so they do not fall into the wrong hands" said Jeff Capretto, the Special Representative of Westshore Law Enforcement.
Capretto says he and his team working in the six major Westside suburbs are very busy.
"We always track the traffickers .That's what we pursue, the tug more than the owner," Capretto said.
Ohio has long been known to be especially hard hit with opioids in recent years. According to the Ohio Department of Health, in 201
The Department of Health also says that of all overdose deaths in Ohio in 2016, 20% of those People have had an opioid prescription over the last 30 days.
drug take back programs are not particularly new, but they are becoming more common. Almost every local police department now has a prescription box in its lobby and it's usually available around the clock.