By Julie Grant

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Over 158 tons of unused prescription drugs have been collected and destroyed thanks to good citizens putting them in take-back boxes. The state initiative has been so successful that Governor Tom Wolf announced 65 more boxes have been added to Pennsylvania State Police stations.

“We can all help stop this cycle by simply dropping unused medications off at take-back boxes like the ones that we demonstrated here today,” said Dr. Lauren Hughes, Deputy Secretary for Health Innovation.

Prescription opioids in your medicine cabinet can be a starting point for heroin addiction. Your child or another adult could decide to experiment with what you have not used in your old prescription bottle.

“By providing a way to safely dispose of these potentially dangerous drugs, we hope to keep them out of the hands of people who could possibly misuse them,” said Tyree Blocker, State Police Commissioner.

“Check your cabinets and bathrooms to locate all unwanted or unneeded medications. Visit your parents, grandparents, or older adults in the community to assist them in doing the same. Then take those medications to your nearest take-back box location,” said Jennifer Smith, Acting Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

President Trump has declared the opioid crisis a national emergency. Even if you are not battling addiction and you do not know anyone who is, you can still contribute to solving the national problem by joining in this state program.

“We must have the support of communities and citizens in getting and keeping drugs out of the wrong hands. And you can do that through the use of a prescription drug take-back drop box,” Smith said.

The drug take-back boxes are just one initiative Governor Wolf has implemented in the fight against opioids. The governor has also set up more than 45 treatment centers, expanded Medicaid to offer substance abuse care and strengthened the prescription drug monitoring program. Narcan is also carried by police officers, paramedics and firefighters and it is also in schools.

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