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Apr 27, 2011 7:48 PM by Andy Koen

Prescription drug abuse tops all other drugs

The Drug Enforcement Administration says the most commonly abused drugs in America today come from the medicine cabinet. Over the last decade the number of people who've overdosed on prescription pain meds like Oxycotin has doubled.

Matt Barden, Resident Agent in Charge of the DEA in Colorado Springs says there is no easy way to round up prescription drug dealers because the pills are in nearly every home in the country. So, to counter the spread, the DEA is launching a nationwide effort to encourage patients to dispose of their unused pills.

"If it's old and you no longer need it, then it needs to be discarded," Barden said.

He is most concerned with is growth of prescription drug abuse among teens and young adults.

"This is being so highly abused, it is so addictive; it is leading kids to basically as a gateway into other drugs."

Barden believes one reason so many young people are turning to pharmaceuticals is because of a misperception that they are safer than street drugs. But according Travis Porter, a Licensed Addiction Counselor with Aspen Pointe, just the opposite is true.

"Pharmaceuticals, the way that they're designed is to really go to the parts of the brain to be very effective," Porter explains. "When you start abusing something like that, the damage on the brain is actually going to be more so than something that's more crudely produced like say heroine."

This Saturday, the DEA and local law enforcement agencies across the country are asking everyone to bring their unused medications to the nearest police station to safely dispose of them.

"When we receive it there's no questions asked, there's no registration, there's no filling out of information; just come in and drop it in the container and then we'll take it and dispose of it," Barden said.

Last year over a ton of prescription medications were collected in the Colorado Springs area alone. This year's collection will take place on Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at local police departments, sheriff's offices and state patrol offices. Click here to find the nearest drop off location.

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