SAN RAMON (CBS 5) — On her dining room table, April Rovero of San Ramon spread out dozens of pictures of her son Joey.

The snapshots captured a happy toddler, a handsome young man, and a healthy competitive athlete who was scheduled to soon graduate from college.

That all suddenly, tragically changed with a handful of prescription drugs that Joey obtained from an unscrupulous doctor.

One night, while celebrating with friends, Joey popped some pills for fun, drank a little alcohol, and then, once at home he went to sleep and never woke up.

Joey stopped breathing and died.

The prescription drugs that Joey abused included Oxycodone, Xanax, and Soma, medications commonly found in many medicine cabinets around the Bay Area.

A recent survey revealed the vast majority of teens and young adults who abuse prescription drugs get them out of a friend’s or parent’s medicine cabinet.  Many young people as well as adults believe if the drugs are prescription, they must be safe.

“We have to pay special attention to what is in our medicine cabinets,” said Rovero.  “You need to get those drugs that you haven’t finished, like painkillers or any other medication that’s harmful out of there. They need to be treated as loaded weapons because they really are.”

However many Americans don’t know how to properly get rid of these drugs. Flushing them down the toilet or tossing them out in the trash are not safe options.

Anthony Williams of the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency suggests you go through your medicine cabinet and take out any unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs.  You can drop them off on Saturday September 25th at numerous locations around the Bay Area as part of a nationwide effort to “Take Back Prescription Drugs”

The service is free and anonymous.

“The whole idea is to safely dispose of these pharmaceuticals which are causing big problems particularly for teenagers today,” said Williams.

As for Rovero, she created the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse to spread the word that these pills can kill.

“I want no one else to have to suffer as we have from this.

For a collection site near you:

For the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse:

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved)

Comments (3)
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