SOMERSET – Dozens of Pulaski County citizens took advantage of Operation UNITE’s “Pill Dragon” to get rid of their unwanted or outdated medications Friday, April 1, as part of the annual PRIDE Clean Sweep of U.S. 27.
Citizens brought 32,541 pills to feed to the dragon, a mobile incinerator sponsored by UNITE, Eastern Kentucky PRIDE and the Kentucky Army National Guard.
The turnout was the fourth highest of 24 community Pill Dragon events conducted since last August.
This free “Clean Your Medicine Cabinet Out Day” program is part of a months-long effort – called “Accidental Dealer” – by the Pulaski County UNITE Coalition to raise awareness about the dangers posed by prescription and over-the-counter medications kept in the home.
It was the second stop for the dragon in Pulaski County. On November 9 nearly 28,000 pills were destroyed.
Coalition members, many of whom assisted with Friday’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.
Participating in Friday’s program were members of the Somerset Police Department, Pulaski County Coroner’s office, Pulaski County Judge-Executive Barty Bullock, and several nursing homes.
As of Friday, the Pill Dragon has destroyed a total of 459,719 pills.