Megan McKamy was in her 20s when she went to the doctor to get a prescription to help with her anxiety. She says she does not know at what point she became addicted to prescription medications.
"I found a solution to my discomfort which was anxiety initially, and then what I did was, I didn't really develop coping skills to deal with the feelings of discomfort that I had," said McKamy. “The thing that's so baffling about it is that it happens so slowly and so kind of sneakily that I didn't even realize I was happening."
The addiction usually starts with getting prescribed a drug, like in McKamy's case, then grows. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2011, 52 million people over the age of 12 admitted to using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. The No. 1 way teens get the drugs: right out of their parents' medicine cabinet.
"Prescription drug abuse has overtaken other kinds of illicit drug abuse; it's really becoming the highest rate of abuse of any drugs for starters," said CEO of First Call Molly O’Neill.
In 2013, Missouri ranked seventh in the nation for deaths due to a drug overdose. Kansas did much better, ranking eighth-to-last place for overall drug overdoses.
On Saturday throughout the country, drug take-back locations will be up in full swing. The goal is to get as many prescription drugs out of reach as possible. Click here to see the locations and learn more.
As for McKamy, she now works has a recovery advocate.
“I feel free, I hold my head up and I feel free," said McKamy
Ali Hoxie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .