Keeping prescription pills out of the wrong hands

FRESNO, Calif.

"Your mind is telling you to stop, but the body has no control over it."

Flindt Andersen knows firsthand how dangerous and addictive prescription drugs can be. "I was addicted to everything -- you name it, I took it, I did it and I loved it."

In recovery for the past 10 years, Anderson founded a non-profit organization called P.A.I.N. -- Prescription Abusers In Need. He travels to schools and churches educating teens and parents about the dangers of prescription medication.

"Two out of every five high school seniors have admitted to using or abusing Vicodin, Lortab or Oxycontin -- that's 40% -- that's a high number."

A high number the drug enforcement administration and law enforcement agencies throughout the country have banded together to try and reduce, by helping the public dispose of expired and unneeded prescription drugs.

U.S. Attorney, Ben Wagner said, "The numbers of prescriptions have skyrocketed over the last 10 years and that means there are a lot more of these drugs out there. They are in medicine cabinets all over the country."

According to Wagner, the number of people who die from prescription drug overdose is now higher than heroin and cocaine combined -- and 70% of drug abusers get their drugs from friends and family, including the home medicine cabinet.

Wagner said, "A lot of young people don't seem to realize how dangerous these medications can be, they see their parents taking them for a prescribed condition, they are FDA approved, and they don't realize how dangerous they can be."

Of particular concern are pain killers, such as Oxycontin, Lortab, Vicodin and Percocet. Experts recommend that parents keep the medication in a secure place or safely dispose of the drugs in a plastic bag with kitty litter or coffee, and talk to your kids.

Wagner said, "Unfortunately death are at an all-time high from prescription drug overdose and we don't want to see any more of those."

The DEA is hosting a drug take back event this Saturday, April 30th from 10-2pm. The public is invited to bring their medications for disposal.

Local health and law enforcement agencies will also launch a lock-it-up campaign Thursday, where secure drop boxes will be placed around Fresno County for prescription drug disposal.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.