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Ocala Health joins law enforcement in upcoming opioid take-back day

Ocala Health is taking part in an upcoming opioid take-back day.

The healthcare provider is partnering with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Ocala Police Department to take part in the event, titled “Crush the Crisis.” It will be held Saturday, Oct. 24 and strives to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and proper disposal of medications. The event also aligns with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

During the event, area residents can safely and anonymously dispose of unused or expired prescription medications at four local law enforcement locations. Community members should choose the location that is most convenient for them. Once they arrive at the selected address, event signage will lead them to the medication drop-off points, which include the Ocala Police Department’s main lobby at 402 S. Pine Ave and three sheriff’s office locations:

  • 9048 SW State Rd. 200 Ocala;
  • 3260 SE 80th Street in Ocala; and
  • 8230 S.E. 165th Mulberry Lane in The Villages.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 2 million people in the United States suffered from an opioid use disorder and more than 67,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2018. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the United States is seeing an increase in opioid usage, with 40 states including Florida reporting increases in opioid-related abuse, according to the American Medical Association.

“Stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic may be exacerbating the opioid crisis by causing many Americans to have feelings of anxiety, grief, isolation, financial worry, and an ongoing sense of uncertainty, affecting those with substance use disorders as well as those at risk of developing one,” said Dr. Arthur Osberg, chief medical officer of Ocala Health. “Now, it is more important than ever to get unused pain medications out of homes and to educate the community about the serious threat of opioid misuse.”

During the “Crush the Crisis” event, sheriff’s deputies and police officers will be collecting tablets, capsules and patches of Hydrocodone (Norco, Lortab, Vicodin), Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), Tramadol (Ultram), Codeine, Fentanyl (Duragesic), Morphine, Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and Oxymorphone (Opana). Needles, syringes, lancets or liquids will not be accepted. COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place at the event, including universal masking, social distancing, removal of high-touch items and a drive-through collection option.

Ocala Health is participating as part of HCA Healthcare’s second annual national “Crush the Crisis” opioid take-back day. In fall 2019, 100 HCA Healthcare facilities in 16 states collected 5,887 pounds of unused and expired medications nationwide.

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