'Drug Take-Back Day' to Prevent Prescription Abuse - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

'Drug Take-Back Day' to Prevent Prescription Abuse

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LAWTON Okla_ If you have unused, discarded pill bottles lying around your home or in your medicine cabinet, this weekend is the perfect time to toss them out properly during "National Drug Take-Back."

The Drug Enforcement Administration started the program just a few years ago. They estimate over 1,000 tons of pills have been collected through the bins they provide. With over 6 million American's abusing prescribed medication each year, the DEA said it's important you dispose of them properly, to make sure they don't fall into the wrong hands.

Even though the DEA has set aside a day to remind everyone of what's in their medicine cabinet, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics said prescription drug abuse is a serious issue in our area. Agent At Large Jerry Wells said Southwest Oklahoma needs as much awareness as possible.

"There are just a lot of people prescribing out there," Wells said. "There's a lot of medication out there."

Wells said there are roughly 300,000 people taking meds in the state without a prescription. He said it's a problem that doesn't have just one source.

"It's very hard to strike a balance," Wells said. "You can't blame all doctors. There's a legitimate need for them, and there's a portion of the population that requires them."

When those meds expire or go unused, they can become dangerous and even deadly.

"It might not be healthy for you to take," Wells said. "They may have been sitting in your cabinet. You need to look at expiration dates on medications for your own safety."

Unfortunately, the number of people on the hunt for prescriptions is staggering. Wells said no medicine cabinet is safe, especially around children and teenagers.

"I don't want them to have the availability of drugs at their fingertips at grandma's medicine cabinet, or whatever," Wells said. "They grow up soon enough without rushing it."

So he, along with the rest of the OBN, is asking Lawtonians and others to participate in this weekend's Drug Take-Back day. He said bringing those old pill bottles in is safe and confidential.

"We don't look at these drugs," Wells said. "We're not looking for names. We're not interested in looking at pill bottles to see what someone's taken. There's not many rewarding things about this work, but that is. It's been very, very successful."

On Saturday, the DEA and the OBN ask you to bring your prescriptions to drop-off boxes located at the Comanche County Sheriff's Office and the 24-hour lobby of the Lawton Police Department. Make sure you're just bringing pills. They won't accept liquid chemicals or needles of any kind at the boxes.

If you live outside of the City of Lawton, you can enter your zip code for drop-off locations near you at www.justice.gov/dea.

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