Updated: Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012, 3:01 PM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 11 Apr 2012, 10:56 AM CDT
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WALA) - State officials need your help to fight the war on drugs. Prescription drugs have become a major problem statewide and nationally.
Officials are trying to curb the abuse of prescription drugs with National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 28.
In 2011, folks nationwide turned in 377,000 pounds of unwanted and expired drugs
When prescribed by a doctor, prescription pills can be helpful. In the wrong hands, State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson said those tablets can be more than harmful.
"Medications expire, they lose their effectiveness. An expired or unused medication can be in homes for years. Those that do are highly susceptible for diversion, misuse and abuse. Diversion can result in accidental poisoning, abuse and overdose," Williamson added.
That's why Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange held a news conference to promote National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which encourages people to dispose of their drugs correctly.
"None of us want to see drugs fall in the hands of our youth or people that want to abuse them so this will go a long way in preventing that," Strange said.
You can't dispose of them yourself or flush them down the toilet because health officials said prescription medication can harm the water supply, so they've organized a mass effort.
"There will be 40 plus locations around the state open on April 28. We’re urging people to collect their prescription drugs that are outdated, no longer in use, and take them to a collection point," Strange said.
The DEA has a list of locations near you posted on its website.
Reports from the CDC show that most of the deaths in the US in 2008 were due to drug overdoses caused by prescription drugs.
State officials want to curb that a staggering statistic.
"Like my grandmother once said, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’" US Attorney Kenyen Brown added.