Painkillers are the leading cause of overdoses in Oklahoma, and nationwide more than 170 Americans die every day.
There's a new push in our state and around the nation for people to fully understand the dangers of prescription pills, and Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin is doing what he can to stop the deadly epidemic.
"Oklahoma dispensed 128 painkiller prescriptions for every 100 people in 2012, and recent studies show that rural areas, such as Oklahoma, have higher rates of opioid overdose than more populated areas," Mullin said. "The opioid crisis is more than just troubling statistics, it's personal.”
The congressman said one of the biggest problems is how prescription painkillers are packaged. He said people treat them like taking an aspirin, and before long they're addicted.
"People think they're like any other prescription,” Mulling said. "The problem is it says take every four hours or as needed. And what you have people become addicted to it because they think it's just like any other prescription for an infection, and it's not."
He is joining President Donald Trump who said our nation's opioid epidemic is a public health crisis.
Mullin said, "We have young people and middle-aged people that are going into people's homes and taking them out of the cabinets because they're not used and steal them. So, this is a way to get them off the streets."
That's why on Friday Mullin encouraged people to drop off their leftover prescriptions at drug take back events.
Mullin said every one of us knows someone who's been addicted to opioids, and the only option states have is to figure out how to reverse the devastating trend.
“That's something we've gotta take a hard look at. How do we reverse it? Not treat it, how do we reverse where we're headed, because where we're going right now is scary,” he said. "Three out of four heroin addicts said they got addicted first to opioids. There's a direct connection to it."
More drug take back events will take place October 28, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at ten collection sites across the Northern District of Oklahoma.
The collection sites in the Northern District of Oklahoma are:
You can find more information here.