By Tamas Mondovics

For the second year in a row Publix Pharmacies throughout Florida have joined forces with Informed Families, a non-profit organization, to promote a safety campaign in hopes of preventing prescription drug abuse.

Named Lock Your Meds, the campaign focused last month on educating families about the importance of securing medications, taking regular inventory of it, properly disposing of unused or expired medications and spreading the word to family and friends about prescription drug abuse.

“While many parents are concerned that their children will get involved with street drugs, the most accessible drugs are found in home medicine cabinets,” said Robin Sistrunk, PharmD., Manager of Integrated Care for Publix. “We hope to increase awareness of prescription drug abuse, provide simple ways to prevent it and ultimately save lives.”

Residents visiting their local stores in Brandon, Valrico, Bloomingdale and FishHawk as well as in neighborhoods throughout Riverview and Apollo Beach, saw a Lock Your Meds stand-up poster on the pharmacy counter and message printed on all pharmacy prescription receipts.

Each store also highlighted the Informed Families’ Website, www.informedfamilies .org/meds, as a place to take a pledge to “Lock Your Meds.” The Website also provides tips and tools about securing medication, a home medicine inventory card download and ways to help spread the message.

Many took a pledge and were automatically entered to win one of five medicine safes (retail price $120) given away statewide.

 “Every day, 2,500 teens abuse prescription pain medications for the first time,” said Informed Families/The Florida Family Partnership President and CEO Peggy Sapp.

Efforts to safely dispose unwanted, unnecessary and expired prescriptions are not new. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) recently installed permanent drug drop-off boxes at its four patrol district offices.

“These efforts increase awareness of prescription drug abuse and help keep potentially dangerous drugs out of the wrong hands,” said HCSO spokesperson Larry McKinnon.

For more information about HSCO, visit

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