ABILENE, Texas - Prescription drug abuse is on the rise across the country. The national institute of health says 7.4 percent of 12 to 17 year-olds reported abuse of prescription medications in the last year.
On Saturday, the Texas Panhandle Poison Center was doing what they could to get rid of people's old medications that might be used inappropriately.
The Poison Center said it is because of about 90 student volunteers that they were able to hold the "Medication Take Back" event.
They said more than 100 people in Abilene dropped off their unused medications during the Saturday's event.
"We don't want them available for abuse, we don't want them available to maybe accidentally poison a child or a pet so they can bring them to us and we'll dispose of them properly," said Ronica Farrar who works with the Texas Panhandle Poison Center.
Student volunteers identified, logged, and counted every pill that came through the door. They said it's much safer for them to dispose of these type of medications than patients.
"We don't know exactly where it could end up if you just toss it in the trash or dump it down the toilet or something. We don't know the long term effects of it being in our water system," said Texas Tech pharmacy student Carissa Chadwick.
The Poison Center hoped that by getting rid of people's unused medicine, they might begin to make a dent in the growing prescription drug abuse problem.
"Often times they get the medication out of a family member's medication cabinet, so it's really important to get rid of medications that you no longer need," said Farrar.
The Texas Panhandle Poison Center said they have collected over 9,000 lbs of medication in Texas since they started these events.
The Poison Center encourages everyone to keep their number on-hand and in their cell phone contacts. That number is 1-800-222-1222.
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