DODGE CITY, Kan. — The DEA is trying to raise awareness of prescription drug abuse across the country.
“Whether it’s people experimenting or people that actually have an addiction, prescription medication [abuse] is just as big a problem as any other drug in Kansas,” said Mark Malick, Special Agent of Operations for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
“They’re cheap,” said Pharmacist Matt Monical, “and they give good feelings.”
Because prescription drugs are so widely misused, a big part of pharmacists’ job is paying attention to who asks for what kind of drug.
“We have to make sure that the prescription is for legitimate use and from a legitimate prescriber,” Monical said.
They have the help of the K TRACS database, Kansas Tracking and Reporting of Controlled Substances, but even with a statewide list of who gets what kind of drug, unused or expired drugs can end up with the wrong people.
“A drug addict might break into a house because they know that those prescription drugs are there,” said Lieutenant Jeff Mooradian, “or it could be a small child that could get a hold of them.”
So, National Drug Take Back Day makes it easy to get unused drugs out of the house.
“You don’t have sign any papers, you don’t have to identify yourself, as a matter of fact you don’t even have to get out of your vehicle,” said Mooradian. “An officer will come over to you with a box and you can drop them right in there.”
While addicts aren’t necessarily expected to drop off their prescription drugs, having anonymous drop-off sites help deter the misuse of the prescription drugs as well as the illegal activity that it attracts.
“Whatever you take off the streets or out of medicine cabinets that aren’t being used, that’s keeping it from getting into the hands of others,
” Malick said.
The drug take back sites all dispose of the old drugs properly with the help of the DEA.