The Corpus Christi Police Department in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency held their second annual National Prescription Drug Takeback Day at five local H.E.B. locations on April 30.

Officers with the CCPD guarded prescription drug collection points at each of the H.E.B. locations. They collected both unused and expired prescription medications from local residents.

DEA Corpus Christi Office Resident Agent in Charge Rick Thomas said the service was provided free of charge and was anonymous.

"There are medicines that languish in medicine cabinets that are susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse," Thomas said.

According to a 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more Americans abuse prescription drugs than those who use cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined. Thomas said last year, a total of 121 tons of prescription drugs were collected at nearly 4,100 sites operated by DEA, state and local law enforcement partners.

CCPD Chief Troy Riggs said Thomas and the rest of the local DEA office were instrumental in assisting with the K-2 ordinance recently passed by the Corpus Christi City Council and made the city safer.

"He has made a big difference in just the short time he's been here," Riggs said. "The abuse of prescription drugs is an epidemic in the community, especially with young people."

Riggs encouraged all residents to lock up their medications, and dispose of their drugs in a safe manner.

In years past, law enforcement officials had encouraged citizens to flush their unused or expired medication in the toilet. Riggs said they now know of the hazards in placing medications into the local water supplies, and such practices to dispose of medications should be avoided, he said.