By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- On Wednesday, bags full of prescription medication covered the tables at Palmer Drug Abuse Program (PDAP) near downtown Midland.
"We had plastic containers overflowing. We had garbage bags full of medications. A lot of them," PDAP's Kim Henderson, who is also part of The Midland Coalition, a local community-run substance abuse prevention group, SAID.
It only took 10 days to round up all the medications covering their tables.
"We've got pills, liquids, and just about everything you could think of. We've even got patches," volunteer Heidi Burger, who also works for The Springboard Center, a basin addiction recovery facility, said.
All of the medications covering the tables have come straight out of two brand new permanent medication drop boxes. The Midland Coalition put them in just days ago at Graham's Pharmacy and the Midland County Sheriff's Department.
The Coalition wasn't expecting the boxes to fill up so quickly but it was a pleasant surprise.
"We'll seriously look at having some more boxes built and placed in the public," Henderson said.
On Wednesday, the sorting and counting began.
The entire country is battling a prescription drug abuse problem. The Basin is no exception. The fastest growing age group of users is young adults. PDAP has even seen abusers as young as 10 years-old. Getting a hold of prescription pill bottles doesn't take much work. These young adults are finding these drugs in the family medicine cabinet.
Burger says The Springboard Center treats a lot of prescription drug addicts.
"It's more common than people actually think and it's actually a growing concern here. A lot of times they come in when they're in their early twenties and early thirties," Burger said.
The Coalition is confident that these boxes and other take-back events will help curb much of the pill popping addiction problems in the Permian Basin. It's also better for the environment to dispose of these medications properly.