Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Hundreds drop off prescription drugs for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

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Albany/HV: Hundreds drop off prescription drugs for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
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People wanting to get rid of unused prescription drugs had a chance to do so Saturday at several drop off locations in the Capital Region. As our Madeleine Rivera reports, it's part of a nationwide effort to curb a growing issue plaguing communities around the country.

CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. -- Bag after bag, bottle after bottle. The booth near Albany Medical Center saw a line of of people dropping off unwanted goods.

"We had an accumulation that we had to get rid of," said Bob Stanton, who got rid of his pile of prescription drugs Saturday.

"I've been waiting for one of these collection days," he said.

It marked the 8th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day -- drawing awareness to a growing problem across the country.

"Our state and local partners tell us that they're seeing a lot more overdoses. They're seeing a lot of emergency room admissions due to illegal and prescription drugs," said James Burns, a DEA Assistant Special Agent.

Law enforcement officials say prescription drug abuse often leads to heroin use, which has been recognized as a serious issue in the area.

"As the supply runs out of prescription drugs, they find themselves going for more opiates like heroin, which has more volume and is cheaper in the streets," said Albany Police Chief, Steve Krokoff.

Painkillers like Oxycontin are the most notoriously abused drugs.

"They deal with the same neuro-transmitters in the world that heroin deals with. They give that same feeling," said Krokoff.

That's why, law enforcement officials say, drug take back events like this one, have become increasingly important: to tackle drug abuse.

"Over 10,000 people have turned in more than 30,000 pounds of unwanted medication," said Burns.

And, another bottle left in this drop box is one more bottle kept off the streets.

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