Phoebe to host drug take back event to fight opioid abuse rise amid pandemic

Phoebe to host drug take back event to fight opioid abuse rise amid pandemic

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A Phoebe representative said during the pandemic, there has been a rise in opioid medications being used and abused. To try and stop this rise, the hospital system is hosting its drug take back event Thursday, from 3-6 p.m.

This comes after the one in April was postponed because of inclement weather.

The take back event in Albany will be at the Phoebe Northwest parking lot. The Phoebe Sumter campus will have its take back at the west entrance.

Phoebe said its focus is getting it out of the home so that temptation isn’t there.

Joni Gregory is the surgical quality improvement coordinator at Phoebe.
Joni Gregory is the surgical quality improvement coordinator at Phoebe. (Source: WALB)

Joni Gregory with Phoebe said since Jan. 1, there have been 78 suspected overdoses in Dougherty County.

“Most people focus on addiction and treatment of opioid abuse. We want to try to get the substances off the streets,” said Gregory.

Often people will get opioids or narcotics from friends and family who have had medical procedures.

“They will mosey into the medicine cabinet and help themselves to the narcotics. So, what we want to do is get them out of unknowing hands,” said Gregory.

Another reason to clean out your medicine cabinets can be to get expired medications out.

“You don’t know exactly what reaction can occur after so long. If you mix it with other medications, you can have sometimes catastrophic effects, so you don’t want to take anything after the expired date,” said Gregory.

The event is a way to get those narcotics off your hands on a no-questions-asked basis.

Gregory said to place any medication you have in a bag before you arrive.

“We’re not going to look at labels, we’re just going to put them directly in a bag. We are not looking for specific medications. We’re just going to take them and dump them in a bag and then at 6 p.m., we’ll turn them over to Albany drug unit,” said Gregory.

They will also accept injectable medications and needles.

Last October, Phoebe collected nearly 400 pounds of medications and they are looking to collect even more this time.

Phoebe will also be giving the COVID-19 vaccine during the drug take back event. The only thing you need to get vaccinated is your license and insurance card if you have it.

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