'Operation Take-Back' for prescription drugs

September 24, 2010 2:35:47 PM PDT
Jason Surks was a 19-year-old college student in 2003 when he overdosed on Vicodine, Xanax, and Oxycotin which killed him.

"It wasn't until the day that we were called to the emergency room that I discovered he was abusing prescription drugs, and we ended up being referred to as 'the parents'," said Linda Surks, Jason's mother.

Linda is today praising the DEA's new effort.

It's a nationwide pill take-back program to collect and destroy un-used, unwanted prescription drugs that thousands of teenagers are getting their hands on, and abusing.

It's a growing epidemic.

"62% of teens get their prescription medications for non medical use from family and friends homes and medicine cabinets. Every day on average 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time," said John Gilbride, DEA.

The DEA says 7 million Americans are abusing prescription drugs, more than heroine and cocaine combined.

Linda, who's been a drug abuse prevention expert for 20-years, even before losing her son, says she saw the trend towards kids going after prescription drugs even more.

"These types of drugs, these prescription drugs are very attractive to kids because they are easy to get," Surks said.

Saturday, 4,000 sites across the country, including New Jersey, the 5 boroughs, Westchester and Long Island, will be collecting un-used prescription drugs.

"Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. thousands of DEA agents and our partners will be implementing 'Operation Take Back'," Gilbride said.

Police and fire departments, universities, and other social agencies will be drop off points for the medications.

They will be destroyed, never to end up in the wrong hands.

Click the link for a complete list of drop-off locations: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/takeback/index.html