Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in America. Easily accessible and cheap, some people will abuse their prescription while others will steal it from a family member or friend for the high. In 2011, more than 3,000 cases of prescription drug abuse were reported in Central New York. YNN's Cara Thomas tells us what local pharmacies and political leaders are doing to stop this epidemic.
LIVERPOOL, N.Y. -- Many people don't realize that some of the most dangerous and addictive drugs can come directly from a person's medicine cabinet.
"Where do most kids get addicted? Right here. They see it on their shelves, they've heard from a friend, hey that's a great high and they just take it," said Senator Charles Schumer.
Drugs like vicodin and oxycodon, used by doctors for chronic pain, are also the most commonly abused. Many patients only have to take the medication for a few days, but their prescription provides them with dozens of extra pills.
Schumer said, "If we could make sure magically, that after my wife used her three vicodin for her wisdom tooth that the other 47 would disappear that would solve the problem dramatically."
Kinney Drugs with the support of Senator Charles Schumer are hoping to keep these extraneous pills out of the wrong hands. On Saturday, every Kinney store in Onondaga County will be holding a drug take back event. But an event every once in a while isn't enough.
Mike Duteau, a Kinney Drugs Representative, said, "By providing people with a way to remove either unwanted and dangerous medication from households Kinney drugs is demonstrating our commitment to protecting the environment and safeguarding our communities especially our youth."
"NYS has passed a law already that allows pharmacies to conduct these take back programs, but the federal government, the DEA, has not filed regulations that allow it to happen unless they're done under DEA auspices," said Schumer.
There are two things Senator Schumer is urging the DEA to do. Change the regulations so local pharmacies can sponsor these take back programs on their own. And secondly, he's asking the DEA to consider establishing a buy-back program using forfeiture funds.
Senator Schumer says if these are done, it would be two additional tools to help put an end to the abuse of prescription drugs.