Time for Operation Medicine Cabinet
It’s that time of year again — time to clean out those expired and unused medications you’re tired of looking at in your medicine cabinet. Drug Free Collier’s Operation Medicine Cabinet is coming back to Marco Island on March 27 during Relay for Life at Mackle Park.
Our medicine cabinets are the number one source for prescription drug abuse among our youth. According to the 2008 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, among Collier County’s 12th graders, the past 30-day prevalence rates for abuse of depressants and prescription pain relievers are greater than for all other illegal drugs, excluding marijuana. But, prescription drugs aren’t the only type of medicines our youth are accessing from our medicine cabinets. There are many types of cough medicines and over-the-counter sleep medications in our homes that can be source of juvenile substance abuse.
Our youth are very savvy about prescriptions today — so much so, that they have become known as “Generation Rx.” By taking medication they deem “safe” because mom, dad and grandma take it, our youth achieve altered mental states that can lead to life-threatening injuries, coma and an increased number of deaths. Did you know that the rate of deaths (per 100,000 residents) caused by prescription drugs is over three times as high as the rate of deaths caused by all illicit drugs combined?
Let’s bring it home — it has been estimated that the average family in our community has approximately 20 unused pills (for pain or sleeping aides). The number of unused pills becomes exponentially increased when multiplied by the 350,000 residents of Collier County.
There is something you can do to make a difference. Operation Medicine Cabinet is one way that adults can actively reduce juvenile prescription drug abuse — by removing the source from their homes.
Operation Medicine Cabinet provides a safe method of destroying pharmaceuticals through incineration, which environmental specialists consider to be the best method. By burning the pharmaceuticals, as opposed to flushing or sending medication to the landfill, we can avoid polluting our environment.
Clean out your medicine cabinets. Take all expired or unused prescription and over-the-counter medications to Mackle Park (1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island) between 6 and 8 p.m., March 27.
If this date is not convenient, residents can take unused and expired drugs to Drug Free Collier’s permanent drop-off sites: Collier County Medical Examiner (3838 Domestic Avenue) and Naples Recycling Center (2640 Enterprise Avenue).
Let’s get a step closer in making our community drug free by properly disposing of our medications.
For more information about Drug Free Collier, visit drugfreecollier.org.
Maria Victoria Delgado, PhD
Executive Director Drug Free Collier