ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (KMSP) - In St. Louis Park, police are always on the lookout for drugs, but on Saturday, the drugs came looking for police.
As part of National Drug Take Back Day, police departments around the state collected prescription drugs. The day provides a chance for people to safely dispose of leftover drugs in their homes, and serves as a step in the fight against opioid abuse.
At the St. Louis Park drop off site, bottles turned into boxes.
“We have, I believe as of the last count, 20 to 24 boxes filled up already,” said one officer. “And we’ve only been doing it for about three hours.”
The vast majority of boxes were filled with prescription drugs.
Dick Labree was there disposing of OxyContin. After discovering he didn’t like the painkiller, he was glad to have a place to safely dispose of them.
“I went home. I took one. And one was enough for me, and I didn’t want anymore,” said Labree. “We didn’t know where to get rid of them, but we didn’t want to just throw them into the waste basket.”
The takeback program comes at a time when drug overdoses have been dominating headlines, most of them involving opioids.
In Minnesota alone, 367 people died from opioid overdoses last year, a 12 percent jump from the year before.
This week, the president declared the epidemic a national health emergency.
“We cannot allow this to continue,” said President Trump. “It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction.”
Back in St. Louis Park, Officer Alex Draeger has seen it firsthand. He told Fox 9 about a call earlier this week, when he found three people using heroin in a park. One had overdosed when he arrived.
“They shared with me that they had gotten hooked using prescription medication,” said Draeger. “We were able to get her back and I was talking to her in the ambulance and she shared with me that was the second time she has overdosed.”
Stories like Officer Draeger’s is why police believe Saturday’s drug takeback is so important.
There are dozens of police agencies that have drop off lockers for prescription drugs. Click here to find one near you.