Hillsborough County Sheriff Deputies Chris Girard and Curtis Warren ready to transport 147 lbs. of medications collected at Hawthorne Assisted Living Facility during the recently held Operation Medicine Cabinet event.

It was a day of success as the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with Home Instead Senior Care of Sun City, provided area residents a way of properly disposing of their outdated, unwanted prescription medicines and drugs this month.
Under the supervision of HCSO District IV, Master Deputy and Community Resource Officer (CRD) Curtis Warren,  Operation Medicine Cabinet was held Hawthorn Village of Brandon Assisted Living facility, located at 859 W. Lumsden Ave. in Brandon.
Warren said that the program, which takes place several times a year in the Brandon and Sun City areas, reminds residents of a number of safety issues.
“Operation Medicine Cabinet urges residents to protect their families and the environment, by not flushing medications down the drain or put them in the trash, but to drop them off so they can be properly disposed of,” Warren said.
Since its inception in 2006, Operation Medicine Cabinet has collected more than 5,000 lbs. of prescription drugs and medications and is growing. 
Deputies were on hand to collect and transport all medications to a county hazardous waste collection site for incineration. 
In the past, deputies at the Sun City Center community have collected almost 500 lbs. of unused or unwanted drugs at one time.
Last year, at the Brandon collection site, Warren and his deputies collected 270 lbs. of unwanted medications. 
Warren emphasized that flushing pills down the toilet or drain directly deposits these unused substances into our water system. “The medication contaminates our environment and eventually returns to us through water and food supplies,” Curtis said.
As for the unused and outdated drugs that sit in our cabinets lead to misuse by children, seniors or anyone with access to a home medicine cabinet. 
While prescription drugs are accessed by youths from the cabinets, cough medications and over-the-counter sleep medications can also be a source of juvenile substance abuse.
On the other hand, seniors often pick up the wrong drug in a crowded medicine cabinet or use prescriptions incorrectly leading to possible drug addition, severe illness or worse, death. 
Warren summed up the project when he said, “We hope that our citizens will continue to take advantage of this important community service program, not only in behalf of their own health, but in behalf of the health of everyone living in our communities.”

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