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Pennsylvania Attorney General, Pocono Raceway to fight opioid epidemic

LONG POND, PA (May 28, 2018) - Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced a new partnership with Pocono Raceway to help curb the opioid epidemic through an innovative drug take back initiative. The event will be the biggest NASCAR drug take back weekend ever and will take place at the Raceway during the June 1-3 Pocono 400 weekend.

Race attendees are encouraged to bring unused prescription drugs to one of the two drug take back booths staffed by Attorney General's office personnel on Friday, June 1 through Sunday, June 3. Ticketed fans who dispose of medication during the weekend will earn the chance to drive their car around 'The Tricky Triangle' for free. The take back booths, located outside Gate 8 by the flagpole and inside the Paddock, will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.

"Our partnership with Pocono Raceway continues our fight against an epidemic that is ravaging our Commonwealth and claiming the lives of 15 Pennsylvanians every day," Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. "Eighty percent of people who struggle with heroin addiction start by abusing prescription drugs, and the vast majority got those drugs from friends, relatives or a medicine cabinet. With Pocono Raceway's help, we're getting these drugs out of medicine cabinets and safely disposing of them. This is an innovative public safety idea and a chance for NASCAR fans to do something on their bucket list - drive around 'The Tricky Triangle.'"

In Monroe County, 41 people died from drug-related overdoses and Luzerne County saw a 47 percent increase in overdose deaths in 2016. First responders in Carbon County in 2016 used the lifesaving drug Naloxone 23 times to revive overdosed individuals. County statistics from 2017 are not yet available, but experts expect the overdose deaths to be higher.

Fans who drop their unused prescription drugs at one of the take back booths receive a voucher to drive their own car around 'The Tricky Triangle.' A limited number of fans who drop their prescription drugs on Friday or Saturday will be able to drive the track approximately one hour after the Pocono Green 250 Recycled by J.P. Mascaro & Sons race. These limited spots for Saturday, June 2 will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. All others participating fans will be invited back to drive the track on Thursday, July 5, 2018.

"Pocono Raceway is proud to join the fight against the opioid crisis affecting our local community and the Commonwealth," said Pocono Raceway President Ben May. "Our partnership with Attorney General Josh Shapiro will hopefully encourage all race fans to participate in the drug take back initiative during the Pocono 400 weekend. The program allows every fan attending our events to properly and anonymously remove those unused and outdated prescription drugs from their homes. It is an important step and a strong way for the public to get involved and join the fight against opioid epidemic."

Since Attorney General Shapiro took office in 2017, his office has collected and destroyed more than 63 tons of drugs through partnerships with local law enforcement, district attorneys, the Pennsylvania State Police and the National Guard.

"Expanding drug take back programs is an important facet in my multi-pronged approach to fighting this epidemic," Attorney General Shapiro said. "With your help on race weekend, we can get these unnecessary drugs out of our communities - so they don't fuel the epidemic."

Click here for a map of Pocono Raceway which notes the location of the Office of Attorney General drug take back booths. To view a video from Attorney General Shapiro and President of Pocono Raceway Ben May about the event, please click here.

--- Pocono Raceway ---