Drug Free Collier has launched a new campaign designed to help local residents safely dispose of unwanted medicine using a system that effectively neutralizes drugs at home. Collier County is one of three locations in Florida selected by Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) to participate in the national pilot project. As part of the program, Drug Free Collier will distribute 10,000 pouches of DeterraTM, a carbon-based drug deactivation system, with the help of key stakeholders in our community.
“We are proud to participate in this important pilot project,” said Melanie Black, Executive Director of Drug Free Collier. “For years, we have been at the forefront of vital campaigns to keep our kids safe and our environment clean through Operation Medicine Cabinet.” There are now 11 permanent drop boxes in Collier County where residents can safely dispose of unwanted medicine throughout the year. “We’ve come a long way, thanks to the efforts of so many dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to raise awareness about the importance of safe medicine use, storage and disposal,” she added.
“As we learn more about the risks of unsecured medication and the impact of pharmaceuticals on our water supply, it’s easy to see why more people are resisting the temptation to flush their medicine down the toilet or simply throw it out with the trash,” Black said, adding that local residents have disposed of more than one ton of household medication since the program’s inception.
For residents who are unable to get to our permanent drop boxes, the DeterraTM system is a perfect alternative. Each biodegradable pouch can safely and quickly dispose of up to 90 pills, 12 ounces of liquid or 12 patches. Each package includes step-by-step instructions on how to use warm tap water to neutralize the chemicals found in prescription drugs. The entire process takes about 30 seconds. The pouch can then be conveniently discarded with any household trash.
For Tracy Colleran, a professional organizer who works with clients to minimize clutter, this program is especially appealing. “I work with people going through life changes,” said Colleran, owner of Straighten Up, Inc. “They have so much on their plate,” she said. “For me to take one thing off their checklist is extremely helpful.” When it comes to unwanted medication, Colleran said people know that they shouldn’t flush it, but instead often allow it to accumulate because they don’t know what to do with it. Colleran has partnered with Drug Free Collier because this project provides her with a safe solution through on-site disposal.
Other partners include the Collier County Sheriff’s Office; Collier County EMS; North Collier Fire Control and Rescue; Marco Island Fire Rescue; and Collier County Solid & Hazardous Waste Management. Local distribution of the DeterraTM packets will focus on the elderly, overdose patients and other high-risk residents with unsecured medication.
“Anything that makes our community safer is important to Collier County EMS,” said Noemi Fraguela, Deputy Chief of Training. As part of the project, EMS has stocked each ambulance with the drug disposal pouches and will hand them out on calls where they see patients with lots of medication and duplicates. North Collier Fire Control and Rescue is also using the packets as part of its prevention efforts by demonstrating their use at local senior living facilities.
“This initiative addresses a vital public safety and health issue,” said Black, “You can be part of the solution, by locking up your own medication and safely disposing of any unwanted drugs,” she added.
Contact Drug Free Collier at 239.377.0535 or email@example.com to learn more about this project.