McKEE – Many Jackson County citizens took advantage of Operation UNITE’s “Pill Dragon” to get rid of their unwanted or outdated medications during a finale program for the Accidental Dealer campaign April 12.
Throughout the week pills were collected from residents at Sheriff Denny Peyman’s office for disposal at the program, held at the Lord’s Gym. A total of 12,599 pills were fed to the dragon, a mobile incinerator sponsored by UNITE, Eastern Kentucky PRIDE and the Kentucky Army National Guard.
Tuesday’s event was co-sponsored locally by the Lord’s Gym of Jackson County Anti-drug Coalition and the Title 1 Parent Involvement Program of the Jackson County Public Schools.
Assisting with the Pill Dragon were coalition Chairman Neal Broadus, UNITE Counselor Dawn Lang, and the local law enforcement agencies.
This free “Clean Your Medicine Cabinet Out Day” program is part of a months-long effort – called “Accidental Dealer” – by the Jackson County UNITE Coalition to raise awareness about the dangers posed by prescription and over-the-counter medications kept in the home.
Coalition members, many of whom assisted with Tuesday’s event, began the Accidental Dealer campaign in January to raise awareness about the dangers posed by prescription and over-the-counter medications kept in the home.
“Proper control of personal medications reduces your risk of being a victim of a burglary or theft,” Smoot stated, adding it also “avoids the potential health and environmental effects of having these substances in our water system and soil if they are flushed down the toilet or tossed in a landfill.”
Some studies have shown that 90 percent of teens that try prescription drugs for the first time turn to the family medicine cabinet or to a friend’s family for prescription and over-the-counter medications – making them an Accidental Dealer.
Aside from the fact that taking or giving away medicine that is not prescribed to you is illegal, even at small doses the potential exists for serious health effects – including death. This is especially worrisome in southern and eastern Kentucky, where the average age of first-time use is age 11.
Through Tuesday the Pill Dragon has destroyed a total of 473,518 pills.