Healthwise: fighting opioid addiction with medication cleanout

Healthwise: Dr. Charles Seifert on fighting opioid abuse

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - In a recent 15 year period, more than 165 thousand people in this country died from an overdose to a prescription opioid. That’s according to the CDC.

Dr. Charles Seifert, Regional Dean of the School of Pharmacy at Texas Tech, says opioids should not be taken for more than a week or two because that’s when the body can build a tolerance. Then, you need more and more to relieve the pain, increasing the risk of addiction or even death.

Also, Dr. Seifert says when you add alcohol to the equation, it doesn’t take much for a deadly outcome. “We’ve all been warned that they make you drowsy and don’t take it while driving or operating heavy machinery, but when you’re on that high of a dose of opioid and you have one drink or you take a Valium with it, the risk of death is very very high.”

Dr. Seifert says most Americans are getting opioids from their doctor or from a friend or family member, but access to that prescription..and opioid abuse can start with the wrong hands getting into the medicine cabinet.

That is why the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center is again sponsoring a Medication Cleanout this Saturday from 10 to 2 o’clock. It’s the perfect time to clean out your old, unused or outdated medicines and let those who are trained dispose of them properly.

Noon Notebook: Medication cleanout events this Saturday

The effort to clean out your medicine cabinet can make a huge impact in preventing an addict from finding more drugs. It also keeps drugs from contaminating our water supply by avoiding disposal by flushing drugs or tossing them into the trash.

Since this program began at Texas Tech, this effort has collected and properly disposed of more than 45 thousand pounds of unused drugs.

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