Posted: Saturday, September 29th 2012 at 12:50pm
Operation Pill Drop returns
By Marc Eggers Staff
GAINESVILLE – After collecting a record 276 tons of expired or unwanted medications in a nationwide voluntary surrender-program last April, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency decided to present the opportunity again for individuals to properly dispose of such items, no questions asked.
"Operation Pill Drop" is the nickname of Hall County’s involvement in the nationwide Prescription Drug Give-Back program.
The Hall County Sheriff’s Office, the Oakwood and Gainesville Police Departments, the Drug Free Coalition of Hall County, and Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County worked together to set up five drop-off points across Hall County on Saturday.
They hoped to surpass the 58-pound total collected in April’s event.
According to experts, prescription and over-the-counter medications are a leading portal used by teens as they first begin to experiment with drugs.
"The stigma is not that bad yet." DEA Task Force Agent Keith McCoy said, "Teenagers will go in and get their pills from medicine cabinets at their house…they think that if a doctor gives it then I can have it and it is safe."
"Yet some of these pills, with overdoses, are three times (the effect of) an overdose on heroin or cocaine," McCoy added.
According to the Drug Free Coalition of Hall County the practice of flushing unwanted medications down the toilet or placing them in the trash can pose potential safety and health hazards.
The Coalition cites an Associated Press report about recent positive test results for pharmaceutical poisoning in Atlanta’s drinking water supply.
Gainesville Police spokesmen Corporals Kevin Holbrook and Joe Britt were manning the drop-off site at the Gainesville Police Department on Queen City Parkway. They had several individuals arrive early and surrender an array of pill bottles.
Disposing of unwanted medications properly was vital according to Holbrook. "The last thing we want is for them to get into the wrong hands and/or to be put into the water system."
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