TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – President Donald Trump declared opioid addiction a national health emergency on Thursday, but local experts believe it has not become a crisis in the Sunflower State.
Cathy Walker is the director of the Valeo Recovery Center. She said that the majority of the addiction cases they see are for meth and alcoholism. Still, she said they are working to make sure the national opioid epidemic does not become a crisis in Topeka.
“Opioid drugs being prescribed to people to clients in the community, they’re already reducing those amounts, so we’re taking some preliminary precautions so hopefully we’ll never see what they’re showing in the larger cities,” said Walker.
According to Walker, opioids are primarily prescription pain killer, but some street drugs like heroin are also considered an opioid.
Walker said sometimes people will bounce between hospitals after that initial prescription. It’s that pipeline that they are trying to cut off.
“The hope is that if they aren’t getting the medications from the hospital that they’ll seek treatment for any addictions that they have and not go to the street level,” said Walker.
However, Walker said opioids can be safe when used responsibly. She said you should always take the prescribed dosage and if you are a parent always be in control of the pills. Walker suggested counting how many individual pills you have.
Also, once you no longer need them, don’t leave opioids lying around the house. The Topeka Police Department is hosting a drug take back day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They will get rid of your prescription drugs free of charge.