KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With the U.S. in the grips of an opioid epidemic, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is one way authorities hope to help slow the rising death toll.
At one location near Main Street and Linwood Boulevard, a steady stream of people handed over their unused prescription drugs Saturday for free and with no questions asked.
"It's a safe way to be able to dispose of your medication so you don't throw them into our lovely water system,” KCPD Officer Holly Stricken said.
Cyndie Magher was among those who dropped off a load of unwanted drugs.
“I had lots of expired medications and I wanted to get rid of them in an environmentally-friendly way, you know not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the garbage,” she said.
Curt Watkins also appreciated the chance to clean out his medicine cabinet.
“It's an opportunity I've been looking for because unused drugs accumulate,” he said.
That’s exactly why the event was started.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 6 million Americans misuse controlled prescription drugs.
On average, a person dies from an opioid overdoes every eight minutes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We make it as easy as we can so people can just pull in, hand me a bag and drive away — no questions asked," Stricken said.
The event, which took place in a coordinated effort from law enforcement across Kansas City and the country, is a small step to combat a large problem.
"It's gotten out of hand," said James Lewis, who also dropped off old prescription drugs. "It needs to be controlled. People, individuals should let families know that it's no good. It's probably affecting the whole country."
Magher agreed, "(I) do not want to be responsible for anybody's bad habits."
The drugs collected will be sent to an incineration center in St. Louis for disposal.