ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Prescription drug abuse continues to be a problem across the U.S. Here locally, law enforcement and the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse is helping fight the issue. Starting with permanent drop off box locations at the Odessa Police Department and the Ector County Sheriff's Office.
In just the three years the boxes have been available, they have already collected close to 1,000 pounds in pills.
In May 2014, the Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (PBRCADA) placed their medication take-back box inside the Odessa Police Department.
"There's still so many people out there that don't know that we have these boxes," said Sara Tomlinson with the PBRCADA.
"We would rather have the prescription pills and the expired medication end up here than in the wrong hands," said Cpl. Steve LeSueur with the Odessa Police Department.
Since that day, the council has taken back hundreds of pounds medication.
"People can go in and just drop it. We collect weekly and we collect an average of 10 to 15 pounds a week. So, people are constantly dropping pounds," said Tomlinson.
The Sheriff and police departments both have boxes but OPD continuously collects the most medications.
"With our DEA take back, that brings us to about 419 pounds so far this year," said Tomlinson.
Tomlinson says there is a wrong way to dispose of medication. Simply throwing it in the garbage or flushing it could causes problems in our local environment.
"We are trying to do what's best for our community and the earth. We don't want it in our landfill. We don't want it in our water system," said Tomlinson.
"There's constantly people that are going through dumpsters, looking for medications, expired medications," said LeSueur.
Statistics show one in four teens has abused prescription drugs and one in 10 high school seniors admitting abusing pain relievers.
The PBRCADA recommends to go through your medicine cabinet every six months and get rid of those left over pills.
If you would like to drop off your expired or old pills, you can do so at the Odessa police station 24/7, 365 days a year or the Ector County Sheriff's Office, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Remember, liquids, syringes and inhalers are not allowed.