One pill at a time: Communities combat prescription drug abuse

On Saturday, several communities in the Pee Dee and along the Grand Strand held semi-annual, National Prescription Drug Take Back initiatives to fight prescription drug


The city of North Myrtle Beach held the event.

South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Glenn McConnell was a special guest at Saturday's prescription drug take back. He told WPDE NewsChannel 15 that he was there to commend North Myrtle Beach for their success through this initiative.

"What they're doing is getting them off the street and preventing drug abuse. It's a wonderful program," McConnell said.

The event is a way for people to drop of any expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs without any questions asked. From single bottles to bags of pills, dozens of people stopped by the North Myrtle Beach location to drop off prescription drugs.

This means of pill disposal is also better for the environment than flushing unused pills down the toilet.

Last April, McConnell said 4,700 pounds of prescription drugs were removed off the streets of South Carolina, that didn't get into the hands of the wrong people. Which McConnell says is important because prescription drugs are easily accessible to those who don't need them or have a prescription for them.

Residential homes have become a popular place for drug abuse to start, especially in medicine cabinets.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that more than 70 percent of people abusing prescription and pain relievers got them through the medicine cabinets of friends or relatives.

Teenagers are a part of that group.

They'll get ahold of their parents prescription drugs and they'll take them to school, and trade out or just put them in a bag, reach in, and take one and see what the effects are," said Mike Bienkoski, a patrol sergeant at the North Myrtle Beach police department.

These events have also taught law enforcement how to identify a wider array of dangerous prescription drugs.