DEA to incinerate 16.7 tons of prescription drugs

by: John Knicely Updated:

Drug Take-Back Day

SEATTLE - The Drug Enforcement Administration gave KIRO 7 an exclusive look Tuesday at a major haul of what, officials said, is behind many issues in western Washington. Drug Take-Back Day netted 16.7 tons of prescription drugs, 7.4 tons in Washington alone.

The drugs were voluntarily dropped off by people throughout the region who don't want them to fall in the wrong hands. Police say that's smart, because having extra prescription drugs in your cabinet can make you a target.

It happened to Bob Haugins at his Mason County home. Burglars allegedly broke in, attacked him and stole prescription drugs, among other things.

"They kicked me in the rib pretty good," Haugins said. "I got a bunch of stitches in my mouth from where they kicked me there."

There are also high-profile cases, such as that of former WSU and NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf. He's currently serving a five-year sentence in Montana after he admitted last year to breaking into a home to steal prescription painkillers.

The drug abuse often starts with the willing or unwilling participation of someone close to the abuser.

The DEA cites the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The survey showed that 70 percent of people abusing prescription drugs got them from a friend or family member, and that included raiding the cabinets.

Apparently people in western Washington are getting the message. This year's take-back of prescription drugs brought in two more tons than last year.

It is all now headed to an incinerator.