Opioid takeback to Crush the Crisis disposes of more than 25 pounds of pills

Event was collaboration between Lewis Gale Hospital and Roanoke County Police

By Taj Simmons - Reporter

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. - Bags and vials of expired medications are now out of medicine cabinets and in the trash after a voluntary drug takeback event.

Lewis Gale Hospital and the Roanoke County Police Department partnered for the Crush the Crisis opioid takeback at Lewis Gale's Cave Spring Emergency Room on Saturday morning. Volunteers collected more than 25 pounds of medication during the event.

"We know that two-thirds of teenagers that report misuse of drugs actually got those from family friends or the medicine cabinet," said Dr. Trey Akridge, Lewis Gale's director of pharmacy services.

"It all comes back to prescription opioids," Roanoke County Officer Thurman Butts added when talking about drug crime in his jurisdiction. "It causes so many secondary issues, not just from a health perspective, but from a crime perspective."

A variety of people turned in pills during the takeback, including Darlene Smithwick, who had been holding her deceased husband's medications for a decade.

"I had all of these things from my late husband and medicine that my dog had taken," Smithwick said. "The dog passed away, too."

Smithwick says it's a relief to know her pills are where they cannot do any harm.

"I think this is great," Smithwick said. "I hope lots of people will learn how they can get rid of this and help with this crisis."

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