LONDON – Operation UNITE’s “Pill Dragon” will conduct its first Sunday afternoon visit in Laurel County on April 17.

Citizens are urged to bring all unused or out-of-date medicines to the Faith Assembly Church of God, located at the north I-75 exit in London behind Cracker Barrel, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

This free “Clean Your Medicine Cabinet Out Day” program is part of a months-long effort – called “Accidental Dealer” – by the Laurel County UNITE Coalition to raise awareness about the dangers posed by prescription and over-the-counter medications kept in the home.

All pills will be fed to the “Pill Dragon,” a mobile incinerator sponsored by UNITE, Eastern Kentucky PRIDE and the Kentucky Army National Guard.

The first 10 people to drop off their medications will receive a free medicine lock box from UNITE.

The Pill Dragon is designed to keep medications from being disposed of in landfills or by flushing them down the toilet. Both methods have the potential to harm the environment.

Ridding the home of unneeded medications also reduces the potential for theft and experimentation with drugs.

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.