LA CRESCENTA — Area residents this weekend were given a chance to dispose of unused prescription drugs as federal officials work to curb a growing abuse problem.
During the national "Take-Back" event sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency Saturday, the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station was one of hundreds of drop-off spots nationwide as a part of the federal agency's new campaign.
"We are aggressively reaching out to individuals to encourage them to rid their households of unused prescription drugs that pose a safety hazard and can contribute to prescription drug abuse," acting Deputy Atty. Gen. Gary Grindler said in a statement.
Glendale police officers have also warned of the growing trend of prescription drug abuse, especially among local teenagers.
"We all want to worry about the fact there might be a dope dealer on our street corner or a dope dealer in our schools," Lorenz said Friday. "The problem is the supplier of those drugs that have become such a problem … is what's in your medicine cabinet."
Painkillers and other prescription medications have become increasing popular among local teens, and many are raiding the medicine cabinets of their friends and family — even hosting "cabinet parties" where they can swap pills, Lorenz said.
Howard Hakes, president of the Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition, said he was glad to hear the government was getting involved.
"It's a new problem that no one has really addressed yet," he said.
Federal officials cited a July study that showed a 400% increase in the past decade in drug treatment facility admissions for people fighting an addiction to prescription pain killers.
"Prescription drug abuse is the nation's fastest-growing drug problem, and "take back" events like this one are an indispensable tool for reducing the threat that the diversion and abuse of these drugs pose to public health," Gil Kerlikowske, director of the federal Office of Drug Control Policy, said in a statement.
And with many of the medications going for prices as high as $40 per pill, some non-drug-using teens may still be tempted to sell them, Lorenz said.
"That is the problem," he said. "We need to clean out our medicine cabinets."
Beyond Saturday's event, the Glendale Environmental Management Center run by the Glendale Fire Department and located at 780 Flower St. regularly accepts unused medications, among other household hazardous waste, Lorenz said. For more information, call (818) 548-4030.