CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- U.S. District Attorney Booth Goodwin and the West Virginia State Police will have a prescription drug take-back kick-off event at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at State Police headquarters on Jefferson Road in South Charleston.
As part of West Virginia's participation in the nationwide prescription drug collection effort, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and others will accept expired, unused and unwanted pills at several locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The locations for drop-off may be found at www.dea.gov. Some local collection points are: West Virginia Attorney General's Office at the West Virginia Capitol Building; Foodland parking lot, Kanawha City, State Police offices in South Charleston, Huntington, Oak Hill, Logan, Beckley and Winfield; Sissonville, St. Albans, Chelyan, Hamlin and Spencer detachments of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department; St. Albans police department; Milton pre-K school.
On April 28, Americans turned in a record-breaking 276 tons of prescription medications for safe and proper disposal.
Goodwin said the epidemic of prescription drug abuse has grown into the biggest crime problem in southern West Virginia.
"Even if you do not know someone who has been hurt directly, prescription drug abuse leads to other crime," Goodwin said. "It is the main cause of thefts and burglaries in southern West Virginia.
"Worse than that, our region has recently seen a wave of terrifying home invasions by prescription drug addicts looking for pills or for money to buy pills. The crisis puts everybody at risk," he said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one person died every 19 minutes from a drug overdose in the United States. Two-thirds of teens who abuse painkillers say they get them from family members and friends.
"In the past two years, my office has successfully prosecuted nearly 200 prescription drug dealers," Goodwin said. "We have prosecuted doctors and pharmacists who abuse their prescription power to pour illegal drugs into our communities.
But he said the effort against the problem has to include cleaning out medicine cabinets in homes.
"For many people, especially teenagers, the road to addiction starts with pills they find in their parents' or grandparents' medicine cabinets," he said. "The process is simple -- clean out your medicine cabinets and drop off your old, unused and unwanted prescriptions at a designated drop off site Saturday."
He also advised parents to talk to their children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.