Local law enforcement agencies get ready for National Drug Take Back Day
The problem isn't new, it's not just now sweeping the nation but it is being tackled more aggressively than before.
It's the opioid epidemic.
Thursday the President declared it a public health emergency and across the shore towns and counties are stepping up their efforts to combat the problem.
On Saturday those efforts will extend to our homes, because Saturday is National Drug Take Back Day.
"Having those opioids in the house will lead to addiction in some way, some form," says Lt. Pat Metzger of Maryland State Police.
That's why law enforcement agencies now have drug take back boxes to make it easy for people to get rid of prescriptions they no longer need.
"These drugs are unused, unwanted, expired family and friends keep them in their household and that's really where the crisis begins," explains Lt. Metzger.
National Drug Take Back Day highlights how important it is to throw away prescriptions after they're used.
The Somerset County Health Department says people often forget about over-the-counter or prescribed drugs that they have in the house.
"And those who unfortunately have a dependency or are in pain will just casually just take a pill here take a pill one there you may not even know anythings missing," explains Somerset County Health Department Public Information Officer Sharon Lynch, "Before too long your bottle is either empty or the bottle has disappeared and you don't remember what happened to it."
But now cities are making it as easy as ever to get rid of those unused prescriptions.
"Anything and everything prescription medication human pet anything that you have in your house is unwanted, unused or expired and put it in a plastic baggie, bring it up to the box and drop it in," says Lt. Metzger.
The health department adds this opioid crisis is being fought on multiple fronts, but educating the public about the dangers of unwanted drugs is one way to do so.
But it doesn't just have to be on National Drug Take Back Day.
"We are 24/7 365 days a year so don't just think this is the only time to get rid of your unused unwanted or expired medication you can come up anytime of the day walk up drop them in," says Lt. Metzger.
It's not just Maryland State Police participating city police and county sheriff office's across Delaware and Maryland are also participating.
Meanwhile on the state level, all 24 counties in Maryland received funding to fight this opioid epidemic.
And Somerset County is one of three here on the shore to receive over $90,000 worth of funding.
State Police say the money will help promote a Somerset County Opioid United Team or SCOUT Initiative.
And it will also go toward a peer recovery specialist, a person that will be the middle man for those struggling with addiction.
"We're all understaffed across the board so what it's going to allow us to do is to put extra officers, deputies, troopers out there on the street during times that we predict that we can make the most impact on a user who's getting it from a supplier or on a supplier who's dealing it in the community," says Lt. Metzger.
Wicomico County received $115,000 to increase access to naloxone and to host and hold an opioid forum.
Worcester County also received over $90,000 to help distribute naloxone and place recovery specialists in a hospital emergency department.