Bettendorf is the latest city to join a statewide program to fight drug abuse. A medication drop box has been set up in the lobby of the police department for people to dispose of unwanted drugs safely.
Steve Lukan, director of the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy, says there's a strong link between young people taking prescription drugs they've found in their homes and later abuse of heroin and other more dangerous drugs.
"A lot of people assume that since it came from a hospital, it's safe or since it came from a doctor's office, it's okay. And they don't treat it as seriously as other drugs. Unfortunately, we know today nationwide and certainly here in Iowa that prescription drugs are a huge challenge."
Lukan says Iowa's "Take Back" drug program has brought in more than 20,000 pounds of drugs since it began 6 years ago.
"It really helps adults with a place to go. Oftentimes adults who want to do the right thing don't know where to turn - they might flush them down the toilet or thrown them in the trash. This is a safer and more effective way and more environmentally friendly way.
Drop boxes like the one at the Bettendorf Police Department are also located in police and sheriff's departments in Bellevue, Camanche, Clinton, DeWitt, Dubuque, Maquoketa, and Muscatine, plus some Walgreens stores.
Now in 70 counties, Lukan says his goal is to have at least one in all 99 counties.