Drug Take-Back Effort Rolls Through Brevard County

By  //  September 29, 2012

Safe Disposal Event Held Today

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Brevard County Sheriff’s Department is teaming up with a bevy of local law enforcement agencies from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday to collect unwanted and unused prescription medications.

Drop-off sites will be set up throughout Brevard County today for safe disposal of unwanted prescriptions drugs and medications. (Shutterstock image)

Brevard County Sheriff’s Department public information officer Lt. Tod Goodyear said the event is an opportunity for citizens to safely discard unneeded, unused or expired prescription medications and is a multi-agency effort aimed at addressing the problem of prescription drug abuse while protecting the environment.

“Citizens may simply stop by during the designated times and drop off their medications for safe collection and disposal. The drop-off sites are located at various locations throughout the county,” Goodyear said. “All prescription medications, over the counter drug products and pet medications can be dropped off for disposal.”

He said the effort is designed to educate the public and raise awareness about the problem of prescription drug abuse and improper disposal methods.

The problem has reached epidemic proportions, with prescription drugs as the number one abused drug in the United States, surpassing all other illicit drugs.

Brevard, drop-off sites include:

• Merritt Island — Hobbs Pharmacy, 133 N. Banana River Drive, Merritt Island.

• Cocoa Beach – Cocoa Beach Police Department, Cocoa Beach City Hall Commission Room, 2 South  Orlando Avenue, Cocoa Beach.

• Indian Harbour Beach – Indian Harbour Beach Police Department, Council Chambers in City Hall, 2055 S. Patrick Drive, Indian Harbour Beach.

• Melbourne – Melbourne Police Department, 650 N. Apollo Boulevard Melbourne.

• Cocoa – Cocoa Police Department, Cocoa Police Department lobby, 1226 West King Street, Cocoa.

• West Melbourne – West Melbourne Police Department Lobby,             2290 Minton Road, West Melbourne.

• Melbourne Beach – Melbourne Beach Police Department, Town of Melbourne Beach Community Center, 507 Ocean Avenue, Melbourne Beach.

• Palm Bay – Palm Bay Police Department, Palm Bay Hospital (west entrance), 1425 Malabar Road, Palm Bay.

• Satellite Beach – Satellite Beach Police Department, Walgreens Lobby, 1098 State Road A1A, Satellite Beach.

• Patrick Air Force Base — Patrick AFB, Main Gate off State Road A1A and South Gate off the Pineda Causeway.

Brevard County Sheriff Jack Parker said drug take-back events like the one planned for today offers safe disposal of unwanted prescription medications. (Image courtesy Brevard County Sheriff's Office)

Sheriff support

Brevard County Sheriff Jack Parker said he believes the program works for the community.

“By taking aggressive action such as this community collection and awareness program, we can decrease abuse and hopefully prevent overdose deaths. We must do everything possible to inform our citizens about the dangers of misusing prescription medications,” Parker said. “Just because it is prescribed doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful to us, our loved ones and our environment.”

It’s a fact that keeping old medications in the house can lead to accidents. People sometimes get confused about which drugs to take, or take expired medication that can be ineffective, even dangerous. Children or grandchildren can find the medicine, which could easily lead to overdose, addiction and possibly even death.

Drugs thrown in the trash are a public and environmental safety concern that can wind up in the hands of children, drug users or be consumed by animals. The drugs that make it to the landfill can leach into and the soil and contaminate groundwater. Identity theft can occur from the personal patient information on the medicine containers when discarded.

Goodyear said that disposing of medications down the sink or toilet is very harmful to the environment. Sewage treatment plants are not designed to remove all drug compounds and chemicals released during the water treatment process. Certain drugs kill beneficial bacteria responsible for breaking down waste and can also damage septic systems. Treated water is being introduced into streams, lakes and groundwater and directly affects fish and other aquatic wildlife.

Safe processing

“You can drop off your unwanted and expired medications with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office on our scheduled collection date,” he said. “The medications will then be safely processed and destroyed.”

The collection will accept all non-prescription over-the-counter medications, prescription medications and even pet medications. You can bring in pills, liquids, ointments and lotions. You can leave the medications in the original packaging container or put it in a sealable plastic bag. You can even combine medications in one bag. If you bring in a liquid medication, please put the bottle in a sealable plastic bag to avoid leakage. No I.D. or signatures are required.

The collection cannot accept syringes, asthma inhalers, drugs in aerosol canisters or chemotherapy drugs either in IV liquid or oral form. If you need to dispose of these forms of medications, please call your pharmacist for assistance.