Nebraska Drug Overdose Awareness Week, August 24 - August 31
Lincoln, NE (August 13, 2020) – Earlier this month, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts proclaimed August 24 - August 31, 2020, as Nebraska Drug Overdose Awareness Week to increase public knowledge about the severity of drug misuse and current resources available to Nebraskans.
According to Nebraska DHHS data, every five days someone dies from a drug overdose in Nebraska and most people who misuse medication get them from the medicine cabinet from a friend or relative. Luckily for Nebraskans, every day is take-back day across the state! Participating pharmacies provide a free, safe, and legal method to dispose of unused medications to help eliminate the risk of holding onto your leftover prescriptions.
Approximately 300 pharmacies across the state that participate in the Nebraska MEDS Drug Disposal Program and will take back unused medications free of charge, no questions asked. Find a participating pharmacy near you at www.leftovermeds.com or Google “drug disposal near me.”
“We hope all Nebraskans understand the importance of disposing of leftover medications,” said Sarah Hunter, Project Coordinator for the Nebraska MEDS Coalition. “Not only does it prevent overdose, accidental poisoning, abuse, and misuse, safe disposal also helps protect our water resources.”
Due to COVID-19, the Nebraska MEDS Coalition will host virtual events throughout Nebraska Drug Overdose Awareness Week:
· Wednesday, August 26 Noon CT, Nebraskans for Overdose Prevention Panel. The Nebraskans for Overdose Prevention Panel hosted by the Nebraska Association for Behavioral Health Organizations and the Nebraska MEDS Coalition. Panelists will highlight their experience with overdose, and current resources available in Nebraska to help those struggling, family members of those who suffer from addiction, and safe medication disposal strategies. The event is on Zoom.
· Saturday, August 29, 7:00 pm CT, Candlelight Vigil with State Senator Sara Howard. The virtual vigil will honor those who have passed away from an overdose or those currently struggling with substance abuse. Our speaker will be State Senator Sara Howard. She will be sharing her connection to overdose, and how that has inspired her efforts in her Nebraska Unicameral career. This event is on both Zoom and Facebook Live.
“Since the Nebraska MEDS initiative went statewide in 2016, over 125,700 pounds of medications have been returned to pharmacies across the state,” Hunter said. “The Coalition is a great mix of state, local, and community organizations representing a variety of stakeholders in the medication disposal issue.”
The Nebraska MEDS Coalition is funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Nebraska Legislature. The Nebraska Medication Education on Disposal Strategies (MEDS) Coalition educates Nebraskans about drug disposal. It provides safe ways to dispose of medications to safeguard the environment better and protect public health. The Coalition includes the Nebraska Pharmacists Association, Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department, Lincoln Police Department, Coalition Rx, Lincoln Public School Nurses, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Nebraska Medical Association, AARP of Nebraska, Nebraska Regional Poison Center, KETV, Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, and Nebraska State Patrol.