SALYERSVILLE – Magoffin County brought in 12,172 pills for destruction during its “Clean Your Medicine Cabinet Out Day” event on October 24.

The expired or unwanted pills brought to Operation UNITE’s “Pill Dragon” – a mobile incinerator provided in cooperation with Eastern Kentucky PRIDE and the Kentucky Army National Guard – were collected in just 2 hours.

The Pill Dragon has now visited Magoffin County five times, consuming 143,074 pills.

“The Magoffin ASAP/Drug-Free Communities UNITE Coalition has certainly done an excellent job in promoting these events. They have shown their commitment to preventing these unused pills from getting into the hands of others,” said Dan Smoot, UNITE vice president and law enforcement director.

“Proper control of personal medications reduces your risk of being a victim of a burglary or theft,” said Smoot, 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.”

Two-thirds of teens who abuse pain relievers say they get them from family members and friends, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. One in six teens say they have used a prescription medication not prescribed to them by a doctor.

“With most teens turning to the family medicine cabinet for their first-time use of prescription and/or over-the-counter medications, take-back programs – such as the Pill Dragon – can have an impact on drug use in the community,” Smoot noted.

Magoffin County residents may also bring their pills to a secure medication drop box located at the Sheriff’s Office in Salyersville.

Aside from the fact that taking or giving away medicine 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 just 11 years old.

Since inception, the Pill Dragon has destroyed 1,024,932 pills.