LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Wednesday is International Overdose Awareness Day. It’s a time to remember those we’ve lost to drug overdoses and raise awareness.

Statewide in 2021, 2200 people died from a drug overdose. More than 400 of those deaths came from Fayette County.

Organizations are now working together to prevent overdoses by trying to target the source of the addiction.

At Baptist Health Lexington, patients enrolled in the hospital’s Meds to Beds program prescribed an opioid medication are sent home with a packet of “DisposeRx.”

Will Stewart, a pharmacist at Baptist Health, explained how it works. All a patient needs is there unused medication, water and the “DisposeRx.”

Stewart said, “what happens is those contents are turned into a polymer that really makes them difficult to access for any intended purpose. They can then be disposed of at home in the garbage. It doesn’t require any special pickup or handling thereafter.”

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Stewart said there are a variety of reasons a person may become addicted; however, a common source is the doctor’s office.

Stewart continued, “There are a variety of reasons that people may need opioids. All really to do with pain management that can happen at any level. And a number of patients may be discharged with opioids for pain management.”

That was the case for Angela Osborne. She was on prescription opioid medication for about 2 years.

Osborne said, “I became addicted to drugs being prescribed pain medicines and it easily contributed from that into harder drugs. I lost my home. I’ve lost jobs. Not being able to eat, not being able to support myself, support my children.”

For Osborne, International Overdose Awareness Day is personal having lost family and friends to addiction.

Osborne now works with people who are in the position she was once in. She said preventing unused medications from hitting the streets could help the state fight against addiction and ultimately overdoses.

“It started out as teenagers getting in their parents cabinets, experimenting as teenagers and it develops into further addiction.”  

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