(WMC-TV) - With the toss of a flare, Atoka police chief Jessie Poole is burning up a record number of prescription drugs from inside Tipton County houses.
"No we've got the word out, as we do it more, people pass the word along. We received over forty-five pounds this time," says Chief Poole.
This drug burn-up is part of a nationwide effort to get rid of unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
Atoka police say prescription drug abuse is a problem worse than meth and alcohol abuse.
That's why police say getting these drugs out of the house is so important.
"Relatives and friends are gonna come and visit, they'll look for prescription drugs and an addict is gonna find it one way or another," adds Poole.
The DA's office says home burglaries are actually a leading cause of prescription drug abuse here in West Tennessee.
Police say mane times, family members will steal prescription drugs from other family members' medicine cabinets.
But when residents voluntarily get rid of these drugs in controlled burns like this one, the risk of drug abuse and death by overdose greatly declines.
Drug task force officers have conducted similar burns in Fayette and Lauderdale Counties.
In addition to residents voluntarily turning in these drugs, drug officers also confiscate many of them.
Drug task force director John Thompson says he sees more pain medicine than anything.
"We don't inventory it, but when we remove it, we can easily recognize controlled substances like Hydrocodone and Xanax," Thompson adds.
Thompson says burning these dangerous drugs is an easy way to dispose of them.
He's just glad to see them out of harm's way.