PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, most teenagers who abuse prescription drugs get them from a family member or friend's medicine cabinet. That's why the DEA sponsored events at several coast locations in hopes of tackling the problem. Residents were given the chance to safely dispose of their unused medications to keep those drugs from falling into the wrong hands.
Linda Pol said years of illness in the family filled her medicine cabinet with more prescription medications than she knew what to do with.
"My husband has had several brain surgeries over the past few years, and the medication kept building up," said Pol. "I didn't know what to do with them."
Police say when people to keep unused and expired prescription drugs around their homes the results can be tragic.
"Especially if the prescription is expired, they're not even paying attention to it," said Bruce Lynd, an officer with the Pascagoula Police Department. "Some teenagers or guests in the home can come in and start taking those pills, either remove the whole prescription or removing a few pills at a time."
Officers say some people take the danger of prescription pills too lightly.
"What a lot of people don't understand is a lot of these prescription drugs do in fact contain some of those street type drugs," said Lynd. "Cocaine for instance, it does have a medical purpose. Some of these drugs contain cocaine in them. Some of these other drugs also contain heroin."
The DEA's Prescription Drug Take Back Day was a chance for people to safely dispose of unwanted medications.
"I think it's a great program. It's good for people, average working citizens, that don't know what to do with it or how to properly dispose of it," said Lynd. "It gives an opportunity to bring it in and let law enforcement properly dispose of it to make sure they don't get in the wrong hands or into the hands of children."
The DEA says it's not a good idea to throw unused prescription drugs in the trash because someone may get them out and use and sell them.