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Lee County to working to curb drug addiction, overdoses with prescription drug takeback event

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As warm weather and sunshine skies abound, many communities around Alabama are hosting opportunities for individuals and families to get outside and have a little fun. One community is doing just that, while working to keep medications and expired prescriptions out of the wrong hands.

The Lee County District Attorney’s Office, East Alabama Mental Health, United Way and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office are teaming up to host a Family Fun Day on Saturday, April 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the Lee County Justice Center.

The event boasts a full day of fun activities, such as live music, food trucks and information about community resources. At this event, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office will simultaneously host a prescription drug takeback event, where patrons can safely dispose of unused or expired medication.

Emi Brooks, prevention director of East Alabama Mental Health, said this takeback event provides a space for members of the community to turn in medications or expired prescriptions without fear of judgement.

“Anybody who's got unused medications, either prescription medications or over the counter medications, bring them in, no questions asked,” she explained. “Just bring them in, and the Lee County Sheriff's Office will be there. We'll take them and we will dispose them safely.”

The Lee County event is happening in accordance with the 26th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day happening on Saturday, April 27.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration’s website, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. Collection sites across Alabama can be found here.

As far as the Lee County event, Brooks said it is important because of the growing problem of prescription drug abuse across the nation.

“Right now, the most commonly abused substances are the prescription drugs, the opioids. There's an easy access for the kids from their household, and it's just so easy for them to receive the drugs, thinking that it will actually help them but [they won’t]. It’s a dangerous way of leaning towards ‘let me try this,’’” she explained.

Organizers say promoting prevention is just one of the aims of the Family Fun Day. At the event, there will also be resource vendors stationed around the area, where children and families can visit to earn stamps and be entered into raffles. This is in an effort to highlight April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Crime Victims Awareness Week observance.

Brooks said this will help promote other resources in the area to people who might not already know about them.

“We’re there to promote our prevention efforts, but at the same time, let the community know that there are a lot a lot of resources in the county that we can take advantage of,” she explained.

More information on the Family Fun Day in Lee County can be found here.

Caroline Karrh is a student intern in the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. She majors in News Media and Communication Studies at The University of Alabama. She loves to read, write and report. When she is not in the newsroom, Caroline enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading romance novels and coaching soccer.

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