A recent survey on drug use in the United States shows two-and-a-half times more Americans currently abuse prescriptions drugs than the number of those using cocaine, heroin and hallucinogens combined.
In an effort to curb drug abuse, the Drug Enforcement Administration, state and local law enforcement teamed up on Saturday to take back unused unneeded, or expired prescription medication.
The drug dealing going Saturday in front of the State Capitol was highly encouraged.
No questions were being asked from those turning in their unwanted, unneeded prescription drugs. The goal was to simply get them out of the homes where they pose a dangerous problem.
"Once you have prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet, you don't know how many children can actually take that drug and divert it," said Robin Dinlocker, assistant special agent in charge with the DEA Honolulu office.
According to the Partnership for a Drug Free America, every day 2,500 teens nationwide are getting high off prescription drugs for the first time.
"Especially high school, grad school kids, prescription drugs are probably our number three drug: alcohol, marijuana then pharmaceuticals," said Keith Kamita,state Department of Public Safety's deputy director for law enforcement.
In Hawaii, Kamita said the most commonly abused drug is Vicadin or hydrocodone.
"Hydrocodone is going for $4 to $6 on the street. But with kids, they just trade," said Kamita. "They don't feel it's dangerous because dad or mom takes this for medicine. A doctor prescribes it so they're not afraid to take it."
Dinlocker said these kids are playing Russian roulette with their lives with games that can be found at what are called "Pharm Parties." "Once you get to the party, you come in, they have a bowl for you. You open up your prescription bottle and dump it in there. When the next person comes in, you an roll dice and if a certain number comes up, that's the number of pills you'll take," said Dinlocker.
In previous take-back days, the DEA collected more than 2,600-pounds of prescription drugs.
The drugs collected on Saturday will be accepted anonymously and incinerated at H-Power.
Right now, the state is using grant money to hold a "drug take-back day" every quarter.
The DEA is working on a way to have a drug drop off site available year round, but for now, will host the event every six months.