April 29, 2011
The Saratogian

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Law enforcement and substance abuse prevention officials joined forces Friday urging people to rid their medicine chests of expired prescription drugs.

Such drugs are now the country’s second most prevalent source of drug abuse behind marijuana and a survey of Saratoga Springs High School students, released Thursday, said prescription drug use among local teens has doubled since the last survey was taken two years ago.

“We see some of these prescription drugs in all schools in the county,” Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said.

He was joined by city Police Chief Chris Cole, State Police Senior Investigator Patricia Donovan and Prevention Council Executive Director Heather Kisselback at a City Hall press conference.

Area residents may dispose of old prescription drug pills from

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the City Hall police station, the PBA on Weibel Avenue or at the State Police station on Route 146 in Clifton Park. Liquids and needles will not be accepted.

The campaign is part of a national Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Kisselback said several large bags full of drugs were taken in during a similar effort last fall. Drugs are turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for proper disposal.

Most parents don’t keep track of the exact number of pills in a prescription drug bottle, so they don’t know if their children are taking them, Murphy said. In some cases, pills might be taken by teenage friends. There doesn’t have to be a party going on, he said.

“It can be anybody in your home,” Cole said.

Donovan said that in addition to potential overdose, drug abuse often leads to violent crime such as sex offense and assaults while people are under the influence.

“Kids think because prescription drugs are approved by a doctor that they aren’t as dangerous,” Kisselback said. “That’s not the case.”

The problem is growing because of increased accessibility to drugs as more people take a wider of variety of prescription drugs for health reasons, and because of increased advertising, Murphy said.

“Kids are inundated with prescription drug advertising,” he said.