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Keeping Prescription Drugs Out Of Wrong Hands

September 21, 2010, 5:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Keeping Prescription Drugs Out Of Wrong Hands
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Millions of Americans struggle with addictions to drugs, and now more are abusing prescription drugs.

In fact, whether they're teenagers or adults, the number of people abusing medications is now higher than the number using cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined.

There's a national effort to turn around that trend and since it's also a problem right here that will include police departments in KELOLAND.

More than six million Americans admit to abusing prescription drugs, and the Drug Enforcement Administration says that number is on the rise. But now, that agency wants to turn the trend around by helping you keep those medications out of the wrong hands.

Prescription medications can be the just the right remedy. But in the wrong hands, they can be a destructive problem. More people are abusing prescriptions than ever before and one of the main reasons is because they are so easy to find.

“I think the access is much easier than a lot of illicit drugs because it can be right in your own home medicine cabinet,” Rich Mulholland of the Drug Enforcement Administration said.

That is why the Drug Enforcement Administration is asking everyone to turn in their old and unused medications this Saturday. The event will work with local authorities to ensure the drugs are disposed of properly. Here in South Dakota, 14 different police departments will take part in the program, including in Sioux Falls.

Those turning over their meds don't have to worry about explaining anything. The officer overseeing the event won't ask questions, and nobody will get in trouble.

“We don't want them to have any concerns about that. We want them to be comfortable with it. They can come in and dispose of this because it really is a safety issue,” Mulholland said.

The DEA believes reducing the access to abusive prescription drugs is the first step in fighting abuse, and they hope it can make a dent in the increasingly popular, yet dangerous activity.

“It's very popular among the youth of America. So I think it’s risen to the forefront of everyone's awareness that it’s something that has to be done,” Mulholland said.

Whether it's a pill or liquid form, authorities say simply flushing prescriptions down the toilet isn't a good idea because the drugs can cause environmental damage. Throwing them in the garbage isn't ideal either because they can be stolen from your trash can.

In Sioux Falls, people can drop off prescriptions Saturday at the Law Enforcement Center. You can also search for the location nearest you.

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