AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - It's not just a national headline, opioid abuse is right here at home in Amarillo, and not in a small way.
Last month, we reported the city ranks in the top 25 cities in the country for opioid abuse. Some experts say eight percent of the population contributes to that.
On another front, the Amarillo veterans' hospital has the highest rate of opioid prescriptions in the state VA system, even though the rate has come down 37 percent over five years.
Local medical professionals describe the situation as "truly" alarming.
The pain-killing drugs in the category can range from illegal heroin to prescriptions oxycodone and codeine.
There are a variety of ways of addressing the situation. This includes doctors looking for alternatives for pain relief or controlling the volume of pills given in prescriptions. Another way to address this is making sure the medications don't go to unintended users after the intended use.
Being responsible with left-over pills is important. If you do not need them, there are a few options for the disposal. Places like Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and sheriff's offices traditionally provide a place to drop any unwanted or expired medications for proper disposal.
You can dispose of medications at the following drop-off locations:
- Texas Tech Health Sciences Center - Pharmaceutical Care Center:
- Located at 1400 South Coulter Street
- (806) 414-9390
- Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
- Walgreen's Pharmacy
- Located at 34th and Bell
- (806) 468-6150
- Potter County Sheriff's Office
- Located at 608 South Pierce
- (806) 379-2900
- Randall County Sheriff's Office
- 9100 South Georgia
- (806) 468-5800
Also, our partners at Panhandle PBS and the Amarillo branch of the NAACP are hosting a conversation about opioids, addiction and alternatives in the city. That archived discussion will be available later this week online.
The Perspective Community Challenge this week is a challenge to all of us to be responsible, take an active role in reducing this problem in our city.
We cannot afford to ignore the situation that has developed over many years. We all need to get educated, get help if addicted and get opioids off of our streets.
What's your Perspective?