RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Ethan Buck knows the danger of discovering prescription painkillers in a medicine cabinet. At age 12, he and his brother started sneaking into their mom's supply of medication after she had knee surgery.
"All I did was take them and I realized it gave you a feeling and that's pretty much how I got started," said Buck.
He told ABC11 the pills led to heroin and he was addicted by the age of 15.
"I realized I was hooked when I was 18 years old, and I couldn't stop putting a needle in my arm," he said.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein hears stories like this often. He has launched statewide medication take-back events to get unused pills out of our homes. ABC11 is sponsoring the Triangle event.
"Most people who are addicted begin their addiction when they are adolescents," said Stein. "The majority of adolescents get their pills from friends and family."
Stein has been pushing physicians to write fewer prescriptions.
"In 2016, there were 10 million prescriptions written for opioids, that is one for every man woman and child in the state of North Carolina," said Stein. "That is 700 million pills and we know only a small fraction are used, because most people don't need the full prescription."
Buck has been clean for several years. He is now in college and wants to be a social worker and eventually help other people struggling with addiction.
Buck is hoping people dispose of their unused pills, so other people do not follow his path.
"You could be saving your child's life, or you could be saving your child's friend's life," Buck said.
TAKE-BACK DAY IN RALEIGH
March 19 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
North Hills Midtown Park, Raleigh