Protect your community: Dispose of drugs properly.
Where’s one of the first places crooks go when they break into a home? The medicine cabinet.
They’re hoping to get lucky and find vials of prescription drugs, especially the oxycodone pills and related painkillers that are highly marketable on the streets. That was clear this week when Polk County deputies arrested a couple of pharmacists and a dentist and charged them with trafficking in Oxycodone pills.
There is a real market for prescription drugs on the black market. The old pain medicine you leave in the bathroom drawer can bring a nice little payday to the bum who breaks in the back door. Just ask any law enforcement officer.
That’s one of the reasons sheriff’s offices and police departments ask that you safely dispose of unwanted or unused prescription drugs. They want to remove temptation, whenever possible. They hope to protect law-abiding citizens and slow the flow of drugs sold and consumed illegally in our communities.
We hope people will pay attention and take this advice seriously. Don’t leave old meds sitting around the house. Get rid of them. And do it properly.
Unwanted medications may be deposited at any of Polk County’s Permanent drop sites listed below:
- Auburndale Police Department – 2 Bobby Green Plaza, Auburndale, FL (weekdays, 8 am-5pm)
- Haines City Police Department – 35400 Highway 27, Haines City, FL (24 hours/7 days)
- Lake Alfred Police Department – 190 North Seminole Avenue, Lake Alfred, FL (24 hours/7 days)
- Winter Haven Police Department – 125 North Lake Silver Drive NW, Winter Haven, FL (weekdays, 8 am – 6 pm)
Also, on Saturday, September 29, The Coaltion for a Drug Free Polk is sponsoring a “Purge Your Pills @ the Rx Drop Off” event. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the following locations:
- Lake Wales Police Department - 133 E. Tillman Ave., Lake Wales
- Lakeland Police Department - 219 N. Massachusetts Ave., Lakeland
- Auburndale Police Department – 2 Bobby Green Plaza, Auburndale, FL
- Haines City Police Department – 35400 Highway 27, Haines City, FL
- Lake Alfred Police Department – 190 North Seminole Avenue, Lake Alfred, FL
- Winter Haven Police Department – 125 North Lake Silver Drive NW, Winter Haven, FL
This may not be a top-of-mind concern, but there are a number of good reasons to dispose of drug the proper way and in a timely fashion. We’ve already mentioned the crime deterrent: Seniors, especially, are vulnerable. If you look after an elderly parent, it would be wise to speak to them about getting rid of unnecessary medicines. Help them get rid of the stuff.
It’s also wise to lessen the risk that a younger relative or acquaintance may open the cabinet and walk off with pills. Just saying: Always best to remove temptation. Prescription drug abuse and the mixing of drug “cocktails” has been a growing national problem.
One more reason: water safety. Often, people simply flush old medications down the toilet. The contents can make their way into our waterways. Scientists have found traces of antidepressants and cholesterol-lowering drugs in sharks and other fish that have been fished out of our state’s waterways. Not a good thing.
We recommend people drop off all unused pain medications, antibiotics and pet medications, vitamins, inhalers and even over-the-counter medicines. Just be safe. If you drop off vials, you may want to remove identifying labels first. Please take the time to get rid of old medications the right way. It’s a small thing that will make for a safer, healthier community.