Changing individual habits has never been easy, let alone changing the habits of an entire community, but that’s exactly what local volunteers have managed to do in Collier County with Operation Medicine Cabinet®.
No longer are residents simply flushing away old medication or carelessly throwing it away with the rest of their garbage. Members of our community are now more mindful of how they use, store and safely dispose of household medication. In fact, during 2012 alone, more than 4,000 pounds of pills were collected for safe disposal in Collier County through multiple collection sites offered by Drug Free Collier’s Operation Medicine Cabinet®.
With the rise of prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths reaching epidemic proportions in recent years, Operation Medicine Cabinet® has been an essential element of prevention. Although the proliferation of pill mills certainly contributed significantly to Florida’s problem, stockpiles of medication found in medicine cabinets also became a source for accidental poisoning, overdose and abuse as well.
There is good news, however. Collaborative efforts by state and local officials have led to a sharp drop in illicit prescription pill abuse and also fewer deaths caused by prescription drugs throughout the state and in Collier County as well. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement report that was just released in September shows that the number of drug-related deaths in Florida during 2012 is at the lowest it’s been since the Florida Medical Examiner’s report was first compiled in 2008. Locally, the number of accidental deaths caused by prescription drugs dropped almost 20 percent from 41 deaths in 2011 to 33 deaths in 2012.
Pharmaceutical take-back programs like Operation Medicine Cabinet® are vital because they ensure that household prescription drugs do not fall into the wrong hands. It’s a simple, yet powerful way for each adult in our community to take an active role in preventing further tragedies.
Collier County is fortunate to have 11 permanent drop-boxes where residents can safely dispose of their prescription or over-the-counter medication. With the recent addition of three new permanent drop boxes, disposal of unwanted medication is now easier than ever before in our community.
The new collection sites can be found at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office substations located in North Naples, Golden Gate and Immokalee. These new permanent drop boxes were made possible thanks to the generous the donations of Janet Guttman Cohen; Alan Korest; Dr. John Little and his wife Veora Little.
The success of Drug Free Collier’s Operation Medicine Cabinet® is largely due to the efforts of Veora Little and a cadre of dedicated volunteers. As Volunteer Coordinator for this nationally recognized program, Little works tirelessly to raise awareness and serves as proof that each individual can make a difference. Operation Medicine Cabinet would not be where it is today without her leadership, dedication and innovation. As a retired Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Little understands the benefits and risks associated with any medication.
Prescription pill abuse is preventable. You can be part of the solution by locking up your medication at home. It’s widely known that individuals who abuse prescription drugs often get them from family, friends, and home medicine cabinets. It’s also a good idea to keep a written inventory of all medication. In addition, residents are encouraged to remove any expired or unwanted medication from their homes by disposing pharmaceuticals at one of several permanent drop boxes located throughout Collier County. Both prescription and over-the-counter medication are accepted at each site. No questions asked. All pharmaceuticals are destroyed through incineration, a method which environmental specialists consider to be the best disposal method.
For a complete list of permanent drop boxes, visit www.drugfreecollier.org.
• DO Lock up all medications and keep away from
children and teens.
• DO Bring unused or expired prescriptions and overthe-
counter medication to one of the locations listed
for proper disposal.
• DON’T Flush medication down the toilet. It is
dangerous to the environment.
• DON’T Bring needles or other “sharps.” They cannot
Collier County Sheriff’s Office | 3319 Tamiami Trail East
Phone: 239.774.4434 | Mon. – Fri., 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Zip Code: 34112
Collier County Sheriff’s Office | 776 Vanderbilt Beach Road
Phone: 239.597.1607 | Mon.—Fri., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Zip Code: 34108
Collier County Sheriff’s Office | 4707 Golden Gate Parkway
Phone: 239.455.3121 | Mon.—Fri., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Zip Code: 34116
Collier County Sheriff’s Office | 112 South First Street |
Phone: 239.657.6168 | Mon.—Fri., 7 a.m. – 7 p.m..; Sat—Sun., 7 a.m. – 5
p.m. | Zip Code: 34142
Naples Police Department | 355 Riverside Circle
Phone: 239.213.4890 | Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Zip Code: 34102
Naples Recycling Center (no controlled substances) | 2640 Enterprise
Avenue | Phone: 239.643.3099 | Tues. – Sat., 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Zip Code: 34104
Collier County Medical Examiner | 3838 Domestic Avenue
Phone: 239.434.5020 | Mon. – Fri., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Zip Code: 34104