Williamsville, NY (WBEN) - In recent weeks, a large multi-media campaign has shed a light on prescription pain pill abuse. Today, Senator Charles Schumer was in Williamsville to offer what he feels could be a solution to part of the problem.
"The number one thing to do is get them off the shelves. Once a drug isn't used it should come off the shelf," Schumer said about prescription drugs at home.
In order for that to happen more regularly, Schumer says that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) needs to begin to allow local pharmacies to hold drug buyback programs.
"Maybe some people, if they've paid for a drug they don't want to just take it in and get rid of it," Schumer said. "A buyback program would be like the gun buybacks, and it wouldn't cost the taxpayers a nickel. The DEA has billions of dollars they get from drug forfeiture money, and we're saying take a small amount of that forfeiture money, and set up programs where they can actually buy back the drugs. We'll give you back the cost you paid for it."
Currently, only the DEA has the authority to hold drug take-back events. However, Schumer says that the DEA can amend the current regulations to allow private entities such as pharmacies to develop a take-back method. Schumer says that by amending the current law, people would have more incentive to turn in their prescription drugs, leaving fewer leftover drugs in the house to be abused by young adults or even stolen by burgalers.
"The DEA is sitting on its hands, as thousands of our kids get addicted, and once addiction gets in to their systems, it's very hard to get it out" said Schumer.
Schumer says that in 201, there were 1,340 cases of reported prescription drug abuse in Erie County, and that nationwide, 70% of those addicted to prescription drugs get them from homes.