New Program Properly Destroys Thousands of Prescription Drugs

By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

Unwanted prescription drugs leave many in a catch 22 situation. Either dispose of them incorrectly and hurt the environment or keep them and have them possibly end up in the wrong hands.

On Saturday, Midland's first ever "Medication Clean Out" provided people with a solution to the problem.

"Excited, very excited," Barbara Wickham said. "This is something that I've felt we've needed for a long time."

For Barbara Wickham, Midland's Medication Clean Out means she no longer has to guard her unwanted prescription drugs.

"I brought two large grocery bags filled with prescriptions and over the counter drugs," Wickham said.

Somebody did the drugs and broke into her home to get them.

"Last year, I had my house broken into twice within two weeks," Wickham said. "Both times all they took were prescription pain killers."    

Young people using prescription drugs to get high is a nationwide problem. Just one reason the Midland Coalition decided to host the Clean Out.

"We all have it," Dale Seago with the Midland Coalition, said. "I brought stuff in myself. If you have small kids, you have to worry about poisoning. Juveniles, four in 10 admit to taking prescriptions out of their house to abuse. So, we're just trying to limit that and get it in and give people a proper way to dispose of them."

On Saturday, volunteers collected and counted more than 50,000 pills and about 25 gallons of liquid medication. 

Medications the Drug Enforcement Agency will take and destroy. So, they don't wind up in the wrong hands or hurt the environment.

"So what we're trying to do is not fill the landfill up," Seago said. "Just dispose of it properly and we're asking people to do it."    

Other cities, including Odessa, held similar Clean Outs on Saturday as part of the DEA's National Take-Back Initiative.

The Midland Coalition says they plan to have another medication clean out in the next 30 to 60 days.