PITTSBURGH - Prescription drug abuse is a problem that affects all ages, all races and all genders.
"Prescription drugs are something that are big on our radar right now because of the abuse," said Gary Davis, Asst. Special Agent in Charge of DEA, Pittsburgh.
In fact, two seminars are planned in Washington County this week to address prescription drug abuse by teenagers.
One event will take place at Bentworth High School between 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday. A similar event is planned Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at Mon Valley Hospital.
The Centers for Disease Control has labeled prescription drug abuse "an epidemic."
An estimated 7 million people abuse prescription drugs every year, and 40,000 people die from it.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day which will take place on
Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The DEA wants people to get these pills out of their house and dispose of them in a way that's safe to the environment.
"People are targeting houses where they know these are located. They are breaking into the house and then stealing these drugs," said Davis. "You just don t want to have them around once you don't need them anymore."
In the five previous events, agents collected more than 1,000 tons of medications, including two tons here in Western Pennsylvania.
For a complete list of drop off sites, click here.
According to a study conducted by drugfree.org and the MetLife Foundation, one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime –- a 33 percent increase over the past five years.
The new data from the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) also found a significant rise in misuse or abuse of prescription stimulants, with one in eight teens (13 percent) now reporting that they have misused or abused the stimulants Ritalin or Adderall in their lifetime.
Contributing to this disturbing trend in teen medicine misuse and abuse are the lax attitudes of parents and caregivers, according to PATS President and CEO Steve Pasierb.
"This new data is not about blaming parents. Rather, it's an urgent call to action for them to use their immense power to help curb this dangerous behavior,” Pasierb said. “It's about missed opportunities to protect their kids by having direct conversations with them about the health risks of misusing and abusing medicines - and to then moving to safeguard the medicines in their own home.”