Operation Medicine Chest

PUBLISHED OCT. 27, 2016

Residents invited to safely ditch their old, unwanted drugs at

Operation Medicine Chest

By LOIS KINDLE

lois@observernews.net

LOIS KINDLE PHOTO Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jeff Merry will oversee two upcoming Operation Medicine Chest events in Sun City Center for residents to safely discard their old, unwanted or unused medications. The service is free.

LOIS KINDLE PHOTO
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jeff Merry will oversee two upcoming Operation Medicine Chest events in Sun City Center for residents to safely discard their old, unwanted or unused medications. The service is free.

Many of us remember a time when officials told us to flush our expired, unused or unwanted prescriptions down the toilet or simply toss them. But today we know either practice is not only unwise, it’s also unsafe.

Despite this, some folks and even large healthcare organizations continue using improper disposal methods. Doing so pollutes the public water supply.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office offers an easy remedy to help area residents safely dispose of old or unused drugs and over-the counter meds. It’s called Operation Medicine Chest, and there are two scheduled for Sun City Center between now and Dec. 8.

The first will take place Nov. 10 at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 1239 Del Webb Blvd. W. The second is set for Dec. 8 at Sun City Center Community Hall, 1910 S. Pebble Beach Blvd. Both will be held from 9 a.m. to noon.

Sheriff’s deputies will be on hand for the free collection, which began in 2006 as a partnership between the sheriff’s office and Home Instead Senior Care. Its purpose is to ensure that all kinds of solid or liquid medications, over-the-counter drugs, sharps (needles) and even old pet meds can be properly disposed of by residents, and then incinerated so they don’t end up as a contaminant or in the wrong hands. All area residents are invited to use the service.

The effort is particularly important for the elderly who can mix up their drugs and potentially cause themselves great harm. Another benefit is that it keeps their drugs from being taken by someone who might use or sell them. Sheriff’s officials say prescription drugs are often stolen and abused without the owner’s knowledge by relatives, acquaintances and laborers working in the home.

HCSO deputies will accept all drugs at each Operation Medicine Chest site and carefully monitor both collection processes.

“You don’t have to do anything but bring us your drugs in a bag or box, drive by and hand them to a deputy,” said Jeff Merry, Sun City Center Community Resource Deputy. “There’s no need to remove the labels or empty any bottles or containers. We ask no questions.”

Merry said turned-in drugs are placed in large boxes that are sealed, labeled and then securely stored by the sheriff’s office at its Dist. 2 command office until they’re taken to the Hillsborough County incinerator.

“The drugs never leave the chain of custody,” Merry said.

Last year’s fall collections in Sun City Center netted more than 630 pounds of drugs.

As a reminder, South Shore residents are always welcome to drop off small amounts of pills or capsules at the Dist. 4 command office, 508 33rd St. S.E., Ruskin. Liquids and sharps are prohibited there.

On another note, Merry will do a series of free public presentations in Sun City Center throughout November on investment fraud. Dates, times and places are as follows:

• Tuesday, Nov. 8, 10 a.m. in the Caper Room at the Atrium, 945 N. Course Lane

• Tuesday, Nov. 8, 1 p.m. in the Ripple Room at the Kings Point Clubhouse, 1900 Clubhouse Drive

• Tuesday, Nov. 15, 11 a.m. in the Freedom Auditorium at Freedom Plaza, 1010 American Eagle Blvd.

• Wednesday, Nov. 16, 3 p.m. at American Momentum Bank, 131 S. Pebble Beach Blvd.

His discussion will include Ponzi schemes, boiler rooms, unlicensed individuals who sell fake securities and unregistered investment products, all of which he says are “more common than we want to think about.

“Some questionable people are operating in Sun City Center,” he said.

For additional information, email jmerry@hcso.tampa.fl.us.

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