By Tamas Mondovics
While maintaining its annual Operation Medicine Cabinet drug collection event, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) has installed permanent drug drop-off boxes at its four patrol district offices.
“Citizens are now able to properly dispose of unwanted, unnecessary and expired prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines and veterinarian prescriptions,” said HCSO Public Information Officer, Larry McKinnon.
The decision was announced during a press conference which served as the means to kick off the Hillsborough County Drug Take Back Initiative represented by HCSO’s Colonel, Donna Lusczynski, County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, the Hillsborough County Anti Drug Alliance (HCADA) and the Hillsborough County Strategic Planning/Criminal Justice Office.
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 HCADA for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) to fund the project entitled “Hillsborough County Drug Take Back Initiative.”
Officials said the HCADA was awarded funding by the Hillsborough County Public Safety Coordinating Council in order to expand the current prescription and over-the-counter drug take-back program in Hillsborough County.
According to HCSO Community Resource Master Deputy Curtis Warren, the permanent drug drop-off initiative is not replacing the department’s annual Operation Medicine Cabinet campaign.
Serving the Brandon and SouthShore area communities since its inception in 2006, the annual event has collected more than 6,000 pounds of prescription drugs and medications, as it works in conjunction with Home Instead Senior Care.
“It is easy to pick up the wrong drug or use prescriptions incorrectly,” Warren said. “A simple mistake can result in severe illness or worse, death.”
The new permanent take-back sites will provide multiple options for residents of Hillsborough County to safely dispose of unwanted and unused medications.
The four District Office locations are:
District 4: 503 33rd St. S.E. in Ruskin
District 2: 2310 N. Falkenburg Rd. in Tampa
District 1: 14102 N. 20th St. in Tampa
District 3: 7202 Gunn Hwy. in Tampa
For more information about HSCO, visit www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.