AAOA, Twin Cities-Area Community Raise Awareness About Safe Storage and Disposal of Opioids

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., April 27, 2018 — Community members gathered in Minneapolis yesterday to raise awareness about opioid abuse and misuse in the Twin Cities area. The event, hosted by Allied Against Opioid Abuse (AAOA), the Basilica of St. Mary, House of Charity and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, brought together local stakeholders to learn about the proactive steps that can be taken to ensure unused or expired prescription opioids do not end up in the wrong hands.

“The Basilica of Saint Mary has partnered with Allied Against Opioid Abuse to raise awareness of this crisis and provide education for our community,” said Fr. John Bauer with the Basilica of St. Mary. “We support their mission to prevent abuse and misuse of prescription opioids.”

AAOA is an educational initiative engaging local, state and national partners from the healthcare, public health and pharmaceutical supply chain communities around the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioid use. The new initiative is working to create awareness about the safe use, storage and disposal of opioid medications.

“Patient and consumer education play a significant role in preventing the potential abuse and misuse of prescription opioids,” said John Parker, Senior Vice President of Communications for the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, the founding member of AAOA. “AAOA is partnering with local organizations, like the Basilica of St. Mary, House of Charity and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, to ensure patients know to how to store opioids in a safe place and understand why it is important to properly dispose of any old and unused medicines as soon as possible.”

Research shows that more than half of those who misuse prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or family member. According to a recent national poll, an estimated one-third of those surveyed said they did not know how to safely dispose of opioids, and nearly nine out of ten reported keeping prescription opioid for future use — raising concerns about the likelihood of opioid abuse or misuse in the home.

“In Hennepin County, we have experienced a more than 60 percent increase in opioid-related deaths during the past two years. Every one of these deaths is tragic, and every one of them is preventable,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “For this reason, the Sheriff’s Office is partnering with several community organizations to educate residents about the dangers of opioid abuse, and how they can help prevent future abuse through proper medication disposal.”

During the event, participants learned best practices for preventing opioid misuse in the home through safe storage and disposal, and were shown how to properly use disposal bags to neutralize opioids and other medications.

“Safe storage and disposal of unused prescription medications is something that everyone can do to make difference in the fight against opioid misuse and abuse,” said Rob Reynolds, Director of Advocacy for Verde Technologies. “We look forward to working with organizations like Allied Against Opioid Abuse to ensure that everyone in Minnesota has the resources and support they need to combat the epidemic.”

Community members may safely dispose of leftover prescription opioids as well as other medications at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 28.

At the event, Lt. Dorpha Copeland from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office encouraged attendees to clean out their medicine cabinets, remove any leftover opioids as well as other medications from their homes and drop them off at a participating location. Twin Cities-area disposal locations include:

Brooklyn Center Police Department

6645 Humboldt Ave. N, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430

Brooklyn Park Police Department – South Precinct

7608 Brooklyn Blvd., Minneapolis, MN 55443

Columbia Heights Police Department

825 41st Ave. NE, Columbia Heights, MN 55421

Golden Valley PD – Golden Valley Police Department Lobby

7700 Golden Valley Rd., Golden Valley, MN 55427

Hopkins Police Department

1010 1st St. S, Hopkins, MN 55343 

New Brighton Police Department

785 Old Hwy 8 NW, New Brighton, MN 55112 

Osseo Police Department

415 Central Ave., Osseo, MN 55369

Richfield Walgreens

12 W 66th St., Richfield, MN 55423

Spring Lake Park Police Department

1301 81st Ave. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55432

St. Louis Park Police Department

3015 Raleigh Ave., St. Louis Park, MN 55416

AAOA and its partners have developed materials with recommendations on how to safely and securely store prescription opioids, as well as properly dispose of unused medicines available at www.AgainstOpioidAbuse.org. AAOA’s online search tool includes local and national disposal information, locations and programs. 

For all press inquiries, please contact Press@AgainstOpioidAbuse.org.

About Allied Against Opioid Abuse

Allied Against Opioid Abuse is a national education and awareness initiative to help prevent abuse and misuse of prescription opioids. Founded by the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, the initiative is a collaborative effort with diverse partners across the pharmaceutical supply chain, as well as organizations that are experts in public health and healthcare, including Alliance for Aging Research, American Physical Therapy Association, Caregiver Action Network, Healthcare Leadership Council, Mental Health America, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Council on Patient Information and Education and the PA Foundation. Our goal is to contribute to solving the opioid crisis in a meaningful way by educating patients about their rights, risks and responsibilities. To learn more, visit www.AgainstOpioidAbuse.org or follow us on Twitter: @AAOA_Tweets.