RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Drug Enforcement Administration held a national prescription drug take-back day Saturday.
The event let the public anonymously drop off unneeded or expired medications. The DEA said these medications could act as a gateway to addiction and had fueled the opioid epidemic.
Antonio Martinez was one of the many people who disposed of unwanted medication yesterday in McAllen.
“Instead of just flushing it, or throwing it away in the trash can, this is a better place to come and drop them off,” Martinez said.
Martinez said he had quite a few medications at his home that he no longer used. He said he had heard about this event several days before it happened and wanted to make sure his medications were disposed of properly.
A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stated the majority of people who use medication that wasn’t prescribed to them, got it from family or friends.
DEA Diversion Investigator Ananias Green said, “Over fifty-three percent of the pain medications that are abused by people twelve and older, comes from somebody that they know, or a place that they’re familiar with.”
Green said prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic. He said people could become addicted to medications after receiving treatment for legitimate reasons.
Green said when doctors stopped prescribing it, people would get it wherever they could. “If they find some medication sitting around the house, well then, the opportunity is there, and they take it.”, Green said.
Officials at the drop-off sites said once all the material had been collected, the collection boxes would be shipped out of state to be incinerated. Green said the DEA hosted these events twice a year, in the Spring and again in the Fall.
If you weren’t able to make it yesterday, there are medication drop boxes available at many pharmacies, hospitals and police stations throughout the valley.