Operation Medicine Cabinet racks up large haul of unused and expired prescription drugs

Bay area collections of unused or expired medications was a major success.

Health care workers take part in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at the University of South Florida Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015.
Health care workers take part in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at the University of South Florida Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015.

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – Operation Medicine Cabinet netted hundreds of pounds of prescription pills in the Tampa Bay area on Saturday.

Law enforcement agencies across the region participated in the event, which encourages people to drop off their unused or expired medications.

While most have not tallied their numbers, Pinellas County reports collecting 937 pounds of pills. The Clearwater Police Department collected the lion share. totaling 662 pounds.

There were also collection points all over Hillsborough County. Ronnie Crescentini. who works with the Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance, said a steady stream of participants came to turn over their meds from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Saturday.

At a CVS pharmacy in Riverview, one of the drop points, Marguerite Insco and her husband, Paul, came to drop of a box of old pills. The couple was concerned about having the pills accessible in their Parrish home.

“We have a 5-year-old grandson that’s around with us a lot,” said Paul Insco. “And so we decided we needed to do some research on how we could get rid of this box of old drugs. And she did a little research and found out about this project.”

The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, or CADCA, also participated in the event.

CADCA paired up with a pharmaceutical company to distribute DETERRA pouches. The pouches are new technology that allow people to dispose of their own medications at home, in an eco-friendly manner. Up to 90 pills can be placed in each pouch.

“The pouch uses carbon to deactivate the drugs,” said Mary Elizabeth Elliott, spokeswoman for the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. “It holds up to 90 pills. It’s new technology, and it’s environmentally friendly. While it’s not the silver bullet, it’s another tool in our tool box to address medicine abuse.”

Operation Medicine Cabinet began in 2009. It has been held semi-annually ever since.

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