TAMPA, Fla. - Medicine that was once prescribed to help can very easily end up in the wrong hands and do more harm than good.
"Everyone knows someone, whether it’s a friend, a relative, a loved one who has a problem with substance abuse," said Ellen Snelling, the board chair of the Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance.
On Saturday, dozens of people showed up to locations across the Bay Area to drop off their unused and expired medications, so they could be disposed of safely.
"People that have leftover medications and they don’t know what to do with it. So they think, ‘well I’ll just throw it out in the trash or flush it down the toilet.’ But those are both really bad for the environment," Snelling explained.
However, it’s more than just the environment at stake.
"There may be a person that’s addicted to drugs, that is seeking drugs or just a child that sees something and they want to try it," Snelling stated. "We find that the number one way children get ahold of prescription medication is from their own medicine cabinet."
For Snelling, getting rid of these unused prescriptions and educating the public has become a personal mission as she’s seen the heartbreaking effects of substance abuse firsthand.
"I have a daughter who is in recovery. She’s doing really, really well right now, but there were times where it was really bad," shared Snelling.
As the pandemic continues, addiction has spiked.
"Since the pandemic has started, we’ve noticed an uptick in the use of drugs. Anything from alcohol to marijuana all the way to prescription drugs," said Snelling. "More people are dying from overdoses, so we find that this service might help to prevent something tragic, like another overdose."
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Taking the time to dispose of your medicine responsibly could end up saving a life.
"We really want to keep these drugs out of the wrong hands," said Snelling.
Those who dropped off medicine also received drug disposal baggies so they can safely discard prescriptions at home. If you missed today’s event, but have medicine to get rid of, you can always bring it to your local sheriff’s office or police station.
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