Prescription drug abuse in West Virginia and the rest of the nation is a growing problem in America according to Ava Cooper Davis, special agent in charge of DEA, Washington Division.

"The rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. continue to increase at alarming rates as are the numbers of accidental poisoning as well as overdoses due to the drugs," said Davis.

Davis said that statistics show that every day 2,500 young adults use prescription drugs, not prescribed to them, to get high for the first time.

"The abuse of prescription drugs is second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in the nation," said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

At a press conference held at the South Charleston State Police Headquarters Wednesday, Goodwin referred to prescription drug abuse as an epidemic and said this plague has reached deep into our families and has affected everyone.

State Police Superintendent Colonel Jay Smithers said prescription drug abuse is one of the biggest problems the state police deals with on a daily basis and it has to be addressed.

In an effort to stop the rise of prescription drug abuse,  the DEA, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the West Virginia State Police are partnering together for an initiative called National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

That day is scheduled for this Saturday and provides residents the opportunity to dispose of their unused prescription drugs properly.

Goodwin said these drugs are in everyone’s homes and in everyone’s medicine cabinets which further emphasizes the importance of this initiative.

"We have to purge our medicine cabinets of these prescription drugs that are no longer needed," said Goodwin.

Col. Smithers said he doesn’t think much ground is being made in this area so all the more reason to provide these opportunities for people to dispose of their prescription drugs.

This initiative is also a way to educate young adults about the dangers of prescription drugs and that is it is wrong to use these drugs when they are not prescribed to you.

"This isn’t a simple problem and there is no simple solution," said Goodwin. "To solve it will take the coordination of many and the cooperation of us all, and I think we have that."

This Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. numerous prescription drug collection sites will be open for people to drop off their unused or expired prescription drugs. The sites will be located at the numerous state police detachments in Kanawha County, surrounding counties and the state.

The last prescription drug collection day in the state was held last October and around 3,600 pounds of drugs was collected. The collection is free of charge and the identity of individuals is kept anonymous with no questions asked.

West Virginian’s can visit www.dea.gov or call 1-800-882-9539 to find out more information and locate the nearest collection site.

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