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71,568. That’s how many Americans are estimated to have died of drug overdoses in 2017 according to the Centers for Disease Control. That year, 108 Alaskans died from opioid overdoses.

But opioid abuse can be prevented by properly disposing of unused prescription medications, Lloyd Platson with Sitka Counseling and Prevention services said on the Morning Interview.

October 27 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a program coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Administration to prevent prescription drug abuse. Sitka Counseling will host a Drug Take Back Day event at Harrigan Centennial Hall from 10:00am to 2:00pm on Saturday to collect unused, unwanted and expired prescription drugs.

This is the second Drug Take Back event that Sitka Counseling has hosted. Last year, 28 pounds of prescription drugs were collected.

Sitka Counseling will also provide Narcan Kits that counteract the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose to anyone interested in acquiring one. Platson asks that those turning in medications remove labels from prescription bottles to safeguard their personal information.