A new tool to battle the opioid crisis was unveiled in Delaware County Friday.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan and Councilman Dave White —both members of the Delco Heroin Task Force — showcased the new Delco Drug Collection Van and Mobile Drug Drop Boxes.
To prevent abuse of prescription drugs, they’re going right to resident's homes to safely collect and dispose of old and expired medications.
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“We believe that this unit is not only the first here in Delaware County, but we believe it’s the first in the state of Pennsylvania,” said Whelan said.
It’s effort designed to combat an epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 89 people die every day from opioid related overdoses in the U.S. Delaware County alone has already endured 91 opioid related deaths this year.
"We learned that people didn’t go right to heroin. They often started with pills," White said.
Studies have shown that household pharmaceuticals have become a supply choice for users and dealers. Many obtain the drugs, such as OxyCotin and Percocet, from family or friends.
“Prescription drugs are often the target of theft and misuse. We know that young people are becoming addicted to opioids by first taking a prescription drug which they get from medicine cabinets of their parents, their grandparents and friends,” Whelan said.
To help keep these drugs out of the wrong hands, the mobile drug collection unit will be stationed at following Delco events:
June 29, July 27, August 13: Delco Summer Concert Series
August 1: Springfield Township Night Out, Marple Township Night Out
Organizations and businesses can also schedule the van to come right to them for no charge. To do so, they must contact the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office.
The county’s efforts also include 40 secure medicine drop boxes at almost all police departments.
“It’s a battle that goes on every day, and we fight it every day. It’s a battle that we fight the same way a drug addict that wants to recover fights. He takes it day by day.”