Prescription drugs are creeping into the halls of high schools and they're dragging more and more into addiction.
"When it comes to prescription drugs, you start seeing the opiate's, but what we're starting to see is benzodiazepine abuse, which is anxiety medication such as Xanax, Ativan or Klonopin," said Jonathan Phillips, Preferred Family Healthcare.
As an adolescent abuse counselor, Jonathan Phillips, see's the increase of prescription drug abuse among the younger population first-hand.
"It's not just the old rodeo of alcohol and Marijuana anymore. A kid comes in and they might have experiences with alcohol, Marijuana, methamphetamine's, opiate's, benzodiazapine's, and the list goes on, and on it seems like," said Phillips.
"We do run across prescription medications when we bust an underage house party or something," said SGT. Larry Stobbs, St. Joseph Police Department.
And the common culprit seems to be the ease of access.
"That they got from mom and dad or grandma and grandpa's medicine cabinet, so it's become more prevalent, at least in my twenty-five years of law enforcement," said SGT. Stobbs.
"A lot of people say they have medications in a lock box, or they have them hidden somewhere, that's never affective, because someone always finds the key. The best thing is to have a small combination safe, and only you know the combination," said Dr. Norman Baade, Director of Pain Management at Heartland Regional Medical Center.
And when these drugs are easily accessed, they are easily turned around for profit.
"They'll take a couple Lortabs and sell them for five or ten dollars a pop, and use that to purchase maybe Xanax or Klonopin from somebody else," said Phillips.
"Sixteen-percent of high school students have tried a narcotic, which was not prescribed to them, over the last year. Most of those they either got out of their own families medicine cabinet, or from a friend, or they bought them on the street," said Dr. Baade.
As an effort to keep these pills off the streets, the nationwide drug take back program started three years ago and has collected more than 2 million pounds of medication.
"The first one we did, I think we collected a hundred pounds, maybe more. The last one we did, we had over three hundred pounds of prescription medications, which was a lot of stuff," said SGT. Stobbs.
And it's the stuff that can quickly destroy someones life, because many don't comprehend the severity of abusing these drugs.
"They honestly feel like they can't experience normality without these substances," said Phillips.
"Having one beer is not going to be fatal to yourself, but if you take a medication that's a narcotic, and you don't really know what it is, even though someone tells you it's a Lortab, but you take it, that one pill can be fatal, that one pill by itself," said Dr. Baade.
The St. Joseph Police Department hosts two drug take back programs each year, the next one is scheduled this April 27.