Six months after New Hampshire police departments collected more than 14,000 pounds of drugs as part of National Drug Take Back Day, officials are hoping to surpass that total at a second 2017 event Saturday.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen made a personal pitch Friday morning outside the Concord Police Department for residents to take inventory of their medical cabinets and to safely dispose of unwanted prescription pills.
“My husband and I went through my medicine cabinet this morning, and these are the drugs that we found that we should get rid of,” she said holding up a quart-sized bag holding several pill bottles. ” I would say for everybody you probably have something that you should get rid of and make sure that your children and grandchildren … don’t have a chance to go through and find something that they shouldn’t.”
Shaheen’s pitch came on the eve of the 14th National Drug Take Back Day, and the day after President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis in the U.S. a public health emergency.
Last year, the drug crisis claimed nearly 500 lives in New Hampshire and more than 59,000 lives nationally.
“This is no doubt the state’s number one public health challenge, and it’s also our number one law enforcement challenge,” Shaheen said Friday.
Shaheen was joined by city and state officials, as well as father Jim Moser who lost his son, Adam, at age 27 to a fentanyl overdose two years ago. Moser and his wife, Jeanne, of East Kingston, have launched the drug advocacy campaign Zero Left after their son’s death to raise awareness about the risks of prescription drugs.
“We had habits in our home that exemplify why Drug Take Back Day is important to increasing awareness. From a half a dozen surgeries, we had a lot of pills. We kept them in our kitchen cabinet right next to the glass and the honey and the Advil,” Moser said, noting they were under lock and key. “Adam took those pills throughout his college years.”
Moser said his family didn’t understand the risks prescription opioids posed until it was too late.
He encouraged parents taking part in Drug Take Back Day to have a conversation with their children about prescription opioids – a conversation he said he never had with his son.
A total of 14 police departments throughout the capital region will take part in the national event Saturday. Police departments, including Concord, have also installed permanent boxes in their lobbies for residents to safely dispose of their unwanted pills year-round.