Delaware calls for all expired and unused prescription pills

By Amy Cherry 4:28pm, October 22, 2013 - Updated 5:10pm, October 22, 2013
VIDEO: WDEL's Amy Cherry talks with Red Clay nurse Rebecca King.
Got unused or expired medication in your medicine cabinet? Saturday is your chance to drop it off, safely.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

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"Kids coming in every day high on prescription painkillers, we are seeing it in all of our high schools."

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That's Rebecca King, a Red Clay nurse, whose educational efforts have led to a big increase in people dropping off expired or unwanted prescription pills as part of Drug Take-Back Day.

"Kids think they're safe because they're prescribed, and they're really, really not, they're highly addictive," says King, who compares some of the drugs to legal heroin.

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She says some parents don't know any better either.

"Sometimes, too, even parents they don't really think anything about giving their kid a Percocet because they've got some back pain or menstrual cramps or their leg hurts from a sports-related injury," King explains.

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Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Division of Public Health calls the number of people killed in prescription drug overdoses an epidemic.

"A lot of the medications that people are dying from come out of people's medicine cabinets," says Rattay.

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You can take part in Drug Take Back Day this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at dozens of locations up and down the state.

Rattay says all drop-offs are anonymous, no questions asked.

"We recommend that they have no name on them at all. Take them out of containers that have names on them, put them in a bag, and just drop them off anywhere," says Rattay.

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Many people simply flush old pills down the toilet, but Rattay says that contaminates our water system.

Last year nearly 30,000 pounds of pills were collected. This year, King says they're aiming even higher.

"We would like this time to actually see the biggest number ever and just get these medicines out of cabinets and away from our children," says King, "it would blow your mind how many pills you see people bringing like garbage bags filled with pill bottles."

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Almost all prescription medications are accepted. Used needles are not permitted.

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