By LOIS KINDLE
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Home Instead Senior Care of Brandon sponsored this spring’s Operation Medicine Cabinet March 26 at Community Hall in Sun City Center. Residents of the senior retirement community and neighboring areas were invited to rid themselves of outdated, unused or unwanted solid or liquid prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements, sharps – even pet meds – by dropping them off and having HCSO Community Resource Deputy Jeff Merry and Community Service aide Sonibel Girard take them into custody and securely box them for later incineration.
“We collected 22 boxes, weighing a total of 740.2 pounds Friday,” Merry said, adding the spring event normally brings in between 500 and 800 pounds. “It was a good turnout. I’m glad to have community partners like Kristi Campbell, owner of Home Instead Senior Care, to help us; The Observer News to promote the effort, and the SCC Community Association to provide the site. This event keeps all of the drugs we collect, especially opiates, out of our water and landfills.”
It also reduces the number of drug overdoses due to error, sending seniors to the hospital.
“Clearing out unused or expired medications is so critical in preventing anyone, especially seniors, from taking the wrong drug, an incorrect dosage or a drug that was supposed to be discontinued because of its interactions with new drugs being taken,” said Kristi Campbell, owner of Home Instead Senior Care Brandon. “It’s a safety measure to be taken seriously by the entire family.”
Operation Medicine Chest began in 2006 and takes place every spring and fall. Residents of neighboring communities are welcome to participate.
Southern Hillsborough County residents are welcome to drop off small amounts of pills or capsules any time at the Dist. 4 command office, 508 33rd St. SE, Ruskin. Liquids and sharps are prohibited at this location.