Florence Co. Sheriff Office plans medicine drop

From the Florence County Sheriff's Office:

McLeod Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal and Florence County Sheriff's Office will continue their ongoing partnership of Operation Medicine Drop at the McLeod Industry Health Fair. The health fair will be held on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at McLeod Health & Fitness Center, 2427 Willwood Drive, Florence, SC. The hours of operation will be from 7:30 AM until 5:00 PM.

Operation Medicine Drop, a drug take-back and amnesty program, is designed to reduce or eliminate the negative effect of legally obtained prescription drugs in the home and in the community. Just bring any unused or expired prescription medication, either in the original container or not to the Medicine Drop, and we will take them, no questions asked.

The number of prescription pill deaths in the US more than tripled from 1999 to 2006. In Washington State, poisonings, largely fueled by legal and illegal narcotics now exceed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death by accidental injury. Oxycontin, Vicodin and other prescribed opioids have played a large part in fatal overdoses in children and devastating addictions in adults.

These legally prescribed medications are often left unsecured in cabinets or on counter tops where they can be easily accessed by children, pets or thieves. 40% of poisoning among children occurs in the grandparent's homes. It is estimated that children ages 1-5 account for 23% of all emergency department visits related to poisoning and result in a high death rate due to the smaller body size.

A new and dangerous phenomenon popular among today's youth, known as "Pharming Parties", is particularly disturbing. Young partygoers arrive with pills they have either taken from the family medicine cabinet or purchased on the street and toss them into a bowl, ingesting whatever they happen to randomly, or sometimes blindly pick out. This high risk behavior is frequently associated with high levels of alcohol use, making the unknown side effects of the medication even more dangerous.

From an environmental standpoint, the traditional method of disposal for unused and outdated prescription medication was to flush them down the toilet. Studies now indicate that detectable levels of prescription medications are showing up in the drinking water of some communities. The only safe and effective method to dispose of these medications is through a program such as Operation Medicine Drop.

"Recently, our office arrested several individuals who were charged with selling illegally obtained prescription medication," Sheriff Kenney Boone stated. "More such arrests are likely in the future. The improper use of these drugs is equally as devastating to families and our community as the illicit drugs, and Operation Medicine Drop is a way you can keep them from finding their way into the wrong hands or the environment."

Anyone bringing medications to the McLeod Industry Health Fair will be entered in a drawing for a $50.00 gas card. At other times, a drop box for medication disposal is located in the lobby of the Florence County Law Enforcement Center at 6719 Friendfield Road, Effingham, SC for use during normal business hours.