SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – With our region in the grips of a deadly overdose epidemic, officials in Lackawanna County came together with a simple request Wednesday.
County leaders say a simple action could save a life.
In the same courtroom where many drug addicts are sentenced, Lackawanna County leaders proclaimed Wednesday as “Lock ‘Em Up” Day. They are asking every person to properly secure the medication that is in their homes by putting it in a locked cabinet or drawer.
While it might sound common sense, state representative Karen Boback says taking one day to ask people to do this one action can have a big impact.
“The idea is to take that first step. We’re all in this together. We all want to win the war on opioids so let’s take that step,” Rep. Boback said.
Experts say people who get hooked on prescription drugs often start by taking them from a friend or family member’s medicine cabinet.
Last year, Lackawanna County saw an overdose death roughly every three days.
Already in 2017, three people died from overdoses in the county just this past weekend.
“You’re not going to keep out the greatest thief in the world but you’re going to know if your child, your child’s friend, a visitor to your house tries to get into that box,” Lackawanna County District Attorney Shane Scanlon said.
Besides just properly storing your medications, officials say it’s also important to dispose of any unused/unwanted medications in drop-boxes like the one inside the Lackawanna County Courthouse.
People fighting the overdose epidemic locally say state leaders and medical professionals also need to do more.
Lackawanna County’s president judge says stronger laws are needed to deal with the over-prescription of medications and he also says there needs to be more detox beds made available for addicts.
“You may have to wait a week and often our prisons end up being our detox units and that’s pathetic and it’s not saving lives,” Judge Michael Barrasse said.