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Medication Clean Out to hopefully reduce possible drug abuse

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Around one thousand pounds of unused medications are expected to be dropped off during Saturday's "Medication Clean Out" at the Texas Tech School of Pharmacy in Amarillo.

It's the fastest growing drug problem in the U.-S.... The abuse of prescription drugs. But it doesn't have to be prescription drugs to be dangerous. It doesn't matter if it's expired Tylenol or leftover pain pills, if they're not being used, they could become a hazard in your own home. 

"It's more of a problem than marijuana, cocaine, all of those drug problems," said Dr. Jeanie Jaramillo, Director of the Medication Clean Out.

Whether prescription or over the counter, teens and children don't have to look very far to get their hands on the leftovers.

"They have what we call farming parties," said Dr. Jaramillo. "It's where a bunch of friends go to their houses and collect medications and they pour them into a bowl and just reach in and grab whatever they like not knowing what it is or what it will do and that's extremely dangerous."

Leaving the hands of professionals to be the best place to ditch any extra, old, or unused doses. But it's the growing piles of returned pills that have poison professionals addressing a different problem: over-prescription.

"We're often given medications now to take as needed," said Dr. Jaramillo. "Particularly pain medication."

"It's eye-opening to see how many patients are still being prescribed medications that they're not taking," added Kayley Will, Pharmacy Resident with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

All the medication dropped off Saturday will be sorted, counted and recorded.  Helping find ways to stop the situation before it starts.

"We're hoping to change prescribing practices and dispensing practices in the long run," said Jaramillo.

"It's going to be great," continued Will. 'The research that they get to do with this program can really help benefit patients where they don't have all this extra stuff sitting around."

Saturday's Medication Clean Out will be from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Texas Tech School of Pharmacy on Coulter Road.  If you are dropping off medications, just be sure to leave them in their original containers.