ROANOKE, Va. – Thousands of expired prescription pills have been cleared out of medicine cabinets and given to authorities.
The Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition set up a number of drop-off locations for National Drug Takeback Day Saturday. People came to dispose of their medication while nurses educated them on ways to keep their existing prescriptions safe, including putting them in a locked box.
"It's a risk to have certain medications, especially opioids, in the house," said Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition Director Shakira Williams.
Jeremy Ridley dropped off a bag containing his late relative's prescription pills that he had kept locked in his car for a month. He said he wanted to get rid of the pills as soon as he could.
"Just going through a death in the family, you don't want to have to go through that again if you don't have to," Ridley said. "They're not getting put out on the streets and becoming sold so somebody gets their hands on them that doesn't need them."
Williams said keeping expired medication in the house is especially risky if there are teenagers around.
"They will tell you they experiment," Williams said. "Sometimes it's peer pressure or they go in their parents' medicine cabinet."
The Roanoke Police Department disposed the pills after the event ended. Officer Joshua Johnson says this event goes beyond cleaning out a medicine cabinet.
"I look at these not necessarily as drugs," Johnson said. "These are potential future victims that could be affected."