Jacksonville pharmacies working to combat opioid epidemic

Action News at 11:00 p.m.

With every pill bottle that is filled, some pharmacists are now handing out a disposable solution to easily get rid of any unwanted medication.

Cheryl Goodell lost her husband to opioids last August.

He is one of more than 70,000 Americans who died in 2017 from drug overdoses.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called this statistic a new high.

“There’s such a negative stigma about this disease, and I truly feel like the stigma is the No. 1 killer on why we have so many deaths right now,” Goodell said.

In an effort to fight the epidemic, pharmacists are now handing out packets of DisposeRX to customers.

“It offers patients options on how to dispose (of) medication,” pharmacist Chen Oeur said.

Ouer said he started handing out the solution about a month ago.

“I felt I needed to do something for the community. This is just being part of the community and keeping it safe,” Oeur said.

The solution deactivates the unused medication when warm water and the powder is added to a dispensing bottle and shaken for 30 seconds.

“If we are able to get rid of the drugs immediately and give people the means do to it, I think that’s where we are going to help with this epidemic,” Goodell said.

Goodell is also a part of an organization called Drug Free Duval, which aims to reduce and prevent substance abuse. Although she doesn’t think this powder would have saved her husband, she thinks it could help keep opioids out of the wrong hands.

“This is going to be a great effort to combat our youth from accessing drugs, our juveniles accessing prescription drugs,” Goodell said.

Some pharmacies hand out the packets for free.

There are also other ways to dispose of your unused medication, like using safe drop-off locations or securing the medication so no one can get ahold of it.