DENVER — As Colorado's Fentanyl Accountability And Prevention bill continues to work its way through the legislative process, medical professionals and recovery advocates are encouraging people to do what they can now to fight the opioid and fentanyl crises.
Jason Good of Fort Collins has been sober for 15 years after battling drug use in his early twenties. He started using cocaine while pursuing his undergraduate degree in Miami, and later moved on to opioids after knee surgery.
"I had a pretty minor surgery and was given high-dose hydrocodone and then from there I was prescribed oxycodone," Good said.
After his "doctor shopping" was uncovered by medical professionals, Good says he had to find new means to obtain prescription drugs — and he did.
"I was rummaging through my parents' medicine cabinet and found an entirely unused bottle of Vicodin and I was like, "There we go. I can just continue that way." And that definitely helped me dive further into the land of opioid addiction," he said.
Good says he started on a downward spiral that led him to places filled with many dangers.
"I still don't quite know how I made it out alive," he said.
Now, he serves in a leadership role at a drug treatment facility in Fort Collins and shares his story in hopes of shining a light on the dangers of unused prescription drugs.
This Saturday, the Drug Enforcement Administration is partnering with law enforcement agencies and healthcare facilities nationwide for its Prescription Drug Take Back Day. People are encouraged to drop off their unused medications at participating locations so the medications can be properly disposed.
Good is encouraging those he knows to participate.
"Leaving them just around unused is making them available for the taking," he said. "It can 100 percent be a gateway. I remember about six years ago, where this thing called "pharm parties" were a thing among teenagers, where people are grabbing bottles from their family medicine cabinets and putting them in a bowl — and they have a party and grab fistfuls of whatever pills and swallow them. People were dying, and people were getting really, really harmed by it."
CU Anschutz Medical Campus and the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy will be hosting their take-back event at the campus's Fitzsimmons building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
"Actually, this is one of the most important things we can do to try to curb the opiate epidemic," said Dr. Robert Page, a professor with University of Colorado Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine.
Multiple locations across the Denver metro will be participating in Saturday's event. To find a drop off location near you, click here.