DENVER (KDVR) — 2020 turned into the worst year ever reported for opioid deaths across the country and here in Colorado.
The figures are absolutely startling. In 2020, Colorado experienced its highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded: 1,333.
In Denver, there was an 83% spike in overdose deaths during the first-half of the year alone.
With National Prescription Drug Take Back Day happening on Saturday, area drug counselors and local doctors have an urgent warning for every Coloradan.
“I think as they look more into the numbers, I think we’ll probably see that number even go up – because I think a lot of the numbers are kind of slow in coming in and being tabulated and so when you see it this bad this early that’s concerning,” said Dr. Kevin Patterson, a Denver-based oral surgeon.
Patterson is part of a team of doctors helping curb opioid use by distributing free ‘Deterra At-Home Drug Disposal Pouches’ through the national ‘Gone For Good’ campaign.
The pouch itself actually uses activated charcoal and tap water to render unused or expired drugs inert and safe to throw in your household trash.
“So that’s the biggest key and difference between this and putting it in kitty litter and putting it in the trash. People are known to dig through trash looking for kitty litter pouches because they know there’s drug in them,” Dr. Patterson said.
You can order a pouch for free through the end of April by filling out this submission page.