Midland Medication Take-Back Event Fights to End Prescription Drug Abuse

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - On Saturday, the Midland Coalition coordinated a major medication take-back event at Fairmont Park Church of Christ.

Getting rid of your medication is as easy as driving through a fast-food restaurant. You can roll up, hand over your pills and then roll out. We caught up with Jana Asebedo from Midland as she was handing her unwanted medications out of the window of her vehicle.

"It was very easy and very quick. I figured I'd have to give my ID and information like that and I didn't have to," Asebedo said.

"Just hand it out the door. We take it. We log it. We take care of it from there," Mona Craig said. Craig is one of the event coordinators and a board chairperson at Midland's Palmer Drug Abuse Program (PDAP).

"We take everything from Vitamin C to Advil to Hydrocodone," PDAP Program Coordinator, Mario Flores, said.

Immediately after pills are dropped off, all the personal information on the labels of the bottles is blacked out to ensure privacy.

Kim Henderson is a program and coalition coordinator at PDAP. She says, "There is a rise in prescription drug abuse- not only in our community but also across the country."

According to PDAP, the fastest growing age group of abusers in the Basin is kids and teens. PDAP has seen pill poppers as young as 10 years old. Many of the kids are using painkillers.

"Hydrocodone. That is one that the kids love to take," Flores said.

Many of these young adults only have to look as far as the bathroom to find what they want.

"Why do you lock up your liquor cabinet and you won't lock up your medicine? At least lock up your medicine," Craig said. "Doing away with drugs improperly is a danger to society. When they flush it down the toilet, it goes straight to our water system."

That causes contamination, harming both our community and the environment.

Dozens of volunteers at the take-back recorded the numbers and types of drugs coming in. They're then handed off to the Drug Enforcement Administration for proper disposal.

More than 100,000 pills were collected during the last take-back. This time, coordinators are expecting the count to be even higher.

To learn how to properly dispose your medication, contact PDAP at (432) 685-3645.