COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office teamed up with the Columbus Health Department to get prescription drugs off the streets across Columbus.

Drug overdose has become an epidemic in the United States — according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day happens bi-annually to combat that.

On Saturday, residents disposed unused or expired prescriptions and over the counter drugs. Fatal overdoses increased 84 percent between 2020 and 2021 in the West Central Health District.

“Without knowing the reason why those overdoses occurred, we try and just eliminate any factors that might increase that risk of fatal and non-fatal overdoses,” said Jessica Ricks, the Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator for the West Central Health District.

Muscogee County has the highest prescription rate in the West Central Health District out of 16 counties. This event reflects federal and local law enforcement’s commitment to the community’s safety and health.

“With the younger kids, because they’re getting them probably from home and they sell them or use them,” said MCSO Investigator, Richard Kimbrough. “And that creates other problems such as violent crimes, crimes against each other, robberies.”

People are free to turn in expired or unused prescription drugs at proper disposal collection sites. The best option is the collection box at the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office.