Oklahoma 5th in nation for drug overdose deaths

Oklahoma 5th in nation for drug overdose deaths

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Pills can take away pain and can even help keep our bodies moving.

But if abused, they can also lead to dangerous and deadly side effects.

"It just takes one pill to cause a side effect sometimes," said Walgreens Pharmacist Stefanie Lystlund.

Oklahoma has the fifth highest drug overdose death rate in the country.

According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, nearly 840 people died from drug abuse last year. That number is more than four times the number of deaths in 2002. And prescriptions have played a big role in the increase.

"It's fair to say that 8 out of 10 Oklahoma drug-related deaths involve at least one prescription drug," said Mark Woodward with the OBN.

That's why DEA drug take back days are becoming more important than ever. Because easy access helps more and more people get hooked.

Lystlund explains all-too-common scenarios.

"You know grandma went in and had hip surgery and has pain medication and didn't use all of them and now grand kids may have access to that," she said.

"The problem becomes when the person starts needing more and more," said Woodward, "and its no longer for the pain, it's simply to function."

Saturday is National Drug Take Back Day. It's a safe way to get rid of pills, no questions asked.

It gets the temptation out of your medicine cabinet and away from your family. Because addiction can happen to anyone.

"These are prominent people some of them. Police officers, teachers, doctors, lawyers" Woodward said.

And it's a problem that's growing right in our own backyard.

If you missed drug take back day, there are permanent locations that will take your used prescriptions.

And Walgreens locations sell envelopes to help customers send unused pills to proper disposal facilities.

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