National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

By: Christy Dimond Email
By: Christy Dimond Email

For Ariel Campbell, each day that passes without her mom is a challenge.

"The moments I need to call my mom, I can't," Campbell said. "It's been hard."

Campbell's mom died from a prescription drug overdose. When she passed, she had more than four times the lethal limit of morphine in her body. Campbell's mom had been prescribed a variety of pain medications to alleviate her back pain, but Campbell believes it was too much.

"It wasn't just morphine. It was oxycodon, Oxycontin. It was every pain medicine that anybody has ever heard of, and they gave it to her all at the same time," Campbell said.

Campbell said she watched her mother spend the last seven years of her life addicted to pain medications. Now, as a mother of two, Campbell is making it her mission to prevent prescription tragedies from happening to other families.

But statistics show that may not be easy. Chad Williams, community outreach deputy for the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, said prescription drug abuse is a significant concern throughout the Western Slope.

"We see an increase, or at least consistency, in burglaries where the only thing taken out of the house is prescription medications," Williams said. "That's family members and friends who know where they are that get into the houses and steal them from grandma or mom and dad."

Jim Schrant, resident agent in charge of the Grand Junction Drug Enforcement Administration office, said increased usage of prescription drugs has led officials to crackdown on the problem by targeting doctors, pharmacies and drug dealers. However, he said a crackdown of prescription drugs has led to a spike in heroin usage.

"People still need to get that fix, so a lot of times they'll turn toward heroin to get that fix," Schrant said. "Unfortunately here in western Colorado and particularly Mesa County, we've seen a huge increase in the number of heroin arrests and heroin users this year."

In an effort to combat prescription drug abuse, Mesa County is participating in National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, September 29. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., medications can be dropped off at any of the following locations: Fruita Police Department, Palisade City Hall, the Grand Junction Police Department, and Mesa County Sheriff's Office.


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