Updated: Saturday, 28 Apr 2012, 6:42 PM EDT
Published : Saturday, 28 Apr 2012, 5:56 PM EDT
AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Drug Enforcement Agency says a nationwide effort to get rid of unwanted prescription drugs has netted more than 12,000 pounds of drugs here in Western New York.
With prescription drug abuse at an all-time high according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, it's more important than ever for people to get rid of old prescriptions meds that are taking up space in medicine cabinets. To help that, more than 40 places throughout Western New York held prescription drug drop off events with help from local police and the DEA.
"My dad had some drugs that were from my mom who passed away and he wanted to dispose of them properly so we heard about this and brought them over," says Joan Randall of Tonawanda.
"People can bring in unused, unwanted medications and get them out of the household," says Karl Fiebelkorn from the UB School of Pharmacy.
Fiebelkorn says it is not only important for people to get unused drugs out of their houses, but to get them out to a safe location.
"That way it isn't spoiling all the rivers and streams and lakes. It also has to do with teenage drug abuse. A lot of the teenagers that run into problems get their medications out of their parent's medicine cabinets, out of their friend's aunts and uncle's medicine cabinets. Seniors citizens, they have a lot of things that are expired, they don't know what to do with them and poison prevention for kids under six," says Fiebelkorn.
According to the DEA, 2,500 teens abuse prescription medication every day in the United States.
In 2011, more people died from over dosing on prescription drugs than people who were killed in car crashes.
"With the community coming in and supporting us at each location and dropping off their prescription drugs, they're helping us in the fight against preventing this drug abuse by teens and young adults," says Michelle Spahn of the DEA.
The last time this event was held, more than 8,000 pounds of medications were collected. This years event has collected 12,884 pounds of medication, the largest collection to date.