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How Operation Medicine Drop will work
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Editor:
       The Coalition for a Drug Free Bulloch County is a community organization whose mission is the prevention and reduction of substance abuse throughout Bulloch County. The Coalition’s goals include establishing and strengthening collaboration among diverse segments of the community to prevent and reduce substance abuse. We do this by trying to address the factors in the community which may increase the risk of substance abuse while promoting the factors that minimize such risk.

       For example in March of 2010 the Coalition conducted a Town Hall Discussion to bring awareness to the issue of under age drinking.
      The Coalition is also concerned about the dramatic increase in the abuse of prescription and over the counter medications in the US and locally. According to Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in a recent communication, “Prescription Drug abuse is at record levels and attitudes about drug abuse are eroding”. For example sixty-three percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are easy to get from friends’ and family’s medicine cabinet and fifty-six percent believe that in general prescription drugs are easier to get than illicit drugs. There is also a generalized belief that prescription drugs are “much safer” than illicit drugs, although the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that prescription drugs are responsible for more overdose deaths than “street drugs”.  

      One of the strategies to address this problem outlined by Director Kerlikowske is “Increasing prescription drug return, take-back, and disposal programs. Prescription drugs that are commonly abused are often found in the family medicine cabinet, and individuals should dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs to prevent diversion and abuse.”
      In addition to the concern about drug abuse are issues related to accidental poisoning by children and the elderly when these medicines remain in the home. A recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) concluded that children age five and younger made up 68.9 percent of the emergency room visits for accidental drug consumption.
      The typical way in which these outdated, unused, or unwanted medicines are disposed of is by flushing or placing them in the garbage. Both of these methods result in drugs entering our ground and surface water supplies. This pollution of our water has already been shown to have an impact on aquatic life while the effect on humans is presently unknown.
      Due to the increasing severity and magnitude of the prescription and over the counter drug abuse problem and the environmental concerns noted above, the Coalition for a Drug Free Bulloch County and its partners are hosting  OPERATION MEDICINE DROP.

      This event is scheduled for Saturday Nov. 13 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at four locations; Forest Heights Pharmacy, McCook Pharmacy, The Prescription Shop and Walker Pharmacy, Brooklet. The event is a free service provided by the Coalition and its Partners. Medications should be brought in their original prescription bottles with personally identifiable information removed. Collected medications will be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.
      For additional information please call 912-764-9954 or email sbeckum@bulloch.k12.ga.us.
Spencer Beckum, Coordinator
Coalition for a Drug Free Bulloch County

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