Crime & Public Safety Beat: Annual Drug Take Back Provides Safe Way To Dispose Of Prescription Drugs

By Tamas Mondovics

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for later this month and local agencies and businesses are once again joining forces to assist residents with a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of expired or unwanted prescription drugs.

Several locations and a variety of dates and times are planned that provide the ideal locations as drop off spots.
One such event is the annual Operation Medicine Cabinet (OMC) a joint effort by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), Home Instead Senior Care of Sun City and the Hawthorne Village of Brandon Assisted Living Facility.
The three organizations have teamed up for the event scheduled for Friday, October 6 from 9 a.m. to noon at Hawthorne Village located at 859 W. Lumsden Rd.

According to event hosts and organizers, aside from collecting, OMC also aims to educate the general public about the potential for abuse.

Officials emphasized that medications should never be flushed down the toilet or drain, which can cause contamination of the Florida aquifer and wastewater treatment system.

In its 11th year, OMC has collected close to 8,000 pounds of prescription drugs and medications, a number that will continue to grow.

In recent years, the drug take back effort at Hawthorne resulted in deputies collecting an average of 500 pounds of unwanted or expired prescription medication.

Home Instead Senior Care franchise owner Kristi Campbell said, “The message to our residents is about protecting both our elderly as well as our young residents, our families and our environment.”

To support the effort, the HCSO also installed permanent drug drop-off boxes at its five patrol district offices.
The drop-off boxes are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are the result of an application in 2012 by the Hillsborough County Anti Drug Alliance (HCADA) for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) to fund the project entitled “Hillsborough County Drug Take Back Initiative.

The permanent drug drop-off initiative is not a replacement of the department’s annual Operation Medicine Cabinet campaign.

For more information about HSCO, please visit www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.