The Central Valley is often called the methamphetamine capital of the world. But authorities say the most abused type of drug here and across the country can likely be found in your own medicine cabinet.
Tom Mackenzie with the Merced County Sheriff's Office explained, "Statistics show that the number one most abused drug is prescription medication, and it's being abused mostly by people from junior high on up."
In fact, the most recent national survey on drug use and health found 6.2 million Americans aged 12 years and up had abused prescription drugs within one month of the study. 63 percent of teens said prescription medication is easy to get from friends' and family's medicine cabinets.
Mackenzie added, "It's a real easy temptation for kids, and it actually is an ongoing trend for kids to take either Vicodin and wash it down with alcohol or anything their parents or grandparents have in their medicine cabinet."
Pharmacist Donald Shaljean says that type of abuse can be deadly. "It would be easy to overdose because they don't know the dosages, most of the time they don't even know what they're taking!"
That's why several local law enforcement agencies are teaming up with the Drug Enforcement Administration for a National Drug Take Back Day. People can drop off any unused prescription pills -- as well as expired or unwanted over the counter capsules and tablets at designated sites, like the Merced County Sheriff's Office ... no questions asked.
"We're not going to catalog it, test it to see what it is, we're just going to take it and properly dispose of it," said Mackenzie.
Shaljean says it's a much needed program because flushing prescription drugs can contaminate the water supply." It's not easy for pharmacies to take back pills either because we don't have any good way to get rid of them either."
The drug take back day will be held September 25th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.