TULSA — On Wednesday, the Tulsa Health Department held the first community forum on substance abuse – specifically, opioids.
Matt Condley, Regional Prevention Coordinator with the department, says, “What we wanted to do is bring everyone in the community together to talk about what a day in their life -- as a professional or individual -- looks like, in regards to painkiller abuse.
Patricia Hall, an attendee, is one of many who have watched loved ones suffer from opioid addiction.
"They are wonderful, dear, loving people that are fighting a horrible, heinous disease. It's staggering, it's frightening. We’ve watched so many young people dying from these drugs."
Despite an increase in public awareness, the health department reports, opioid overdoses and overdose deaths remain high. Condley says one of Tulsa County's biggest problems is overprescribing.
"We prescribe, on average, 66 painkillers per person. In addition, we find the majority of people don't dispose of unwanted medications, and 85% of individuals in Tulsa County do not secure their prescription medications properly."
THD officials say most abused prescription drugs are stolen from friends or family.
There are nine medication disposal sites in Tulsa:
- Tulsa Police Gilcrease Division, 3436 N. Delaware Ave., 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekdays
- Tulsa Police Mingo Valley Division, 10122 E. 11 St., 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekdays
- Tulsa Police Riverside Division, 7515 S. Riverside Dr., 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekdays
- Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, 303 W. 1st St., 8 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. weekdays
- Walgreens, 7111 S Lewis Ave; 11332 E 31st St.; 1714 Utica Square; 950 E Kenosha St. Broken Arrow; 601 W Will Rogers Blvd., Claremore
No syringes or liquids are accepted. The disposal process is anonymous.
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