(KWES) - Drug addiction remains one of the biggest threats to American families. It turns out, some of these problems start right in a home's medicine cabinet.
The United States Drug Enforcement Agency estimates that around 4 million Americans are addicted to prescription pain killers and the people taking these drugs often get their supplies from friends and family.
This idea was reinforced by addiction therapist Stephanie Schoen-Orr from The Springboard Center in Midland.
"A lot of times they'll seek it from their friends or relatives. They'll ask if they have any of those medications, using excuses like, 'I'm still in pain' and 'the doctor wont prescribe me anymore.' Then the friend or relative will offer the medication, and if they don't, they'll start looking for that medication in their homes," said Schoen-Orr.
This turn in behavior from addicts is one that Midland County Sheriffs Office's Chief Deputy, Rory McKinney, knows all to well.
"It's a big problem. It's a huge problem. The drug problem always has been a big problem," said McKinney.
He says drugs are the number one motivation behind home invasions here in his county.
"Most of the times it's related to drugs 99% of the time," says McKinney.
As for Schoen-Orr, she says there's no excuse for aiding someone's addiction.
"It's very dangerous. Even if it's somebody you love, it's very dangerous to let someone take medication without a prescription," said Schoen-Orr.
So if you have leftover medication, Schoen-Orr wants you to know there's only one responsible way to keep it.
"So the best way if you're gonna hold onto a medication for whatever reason, the best way is to put in a locked, safe place," says Schoen-Orr.
So one of the main morals of this story is if you don't have a safe place to keep leftover medications, you should dispose of them. One nationwide chain of pharmacies is helping you do just that.
Walmart's pharmacies, including the one's in Odessa and Midland, now carry Dispose Rx.
It's a free product that you can pick up from their pharmacy counter. With a few simple steps, you mix it into your leftover medication and its turned into a useless biodegradable gel.