The start of a new year usually brings resolutions, and clean slates.
If decluttering is your thing, you might be wondering what to do with all that expired medication you just pulled from the depths of the cabinet!
Or…. maybe someone close to you has made the New Year’s resolution to give up prescription drugs and needs help disposing of it… responsibly.
The old way was to flush or trash it. Now we know this only helps those chemicals get into the soil, the Lagoon and even our water supply!!!
And what of the risk to the child or animal that finds it in the garbage?
It’s a heavy dilemma! One we brought to Major Eric Flowers of the...
EF: “Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.”
He says they have just installed a brand-new medicine disposal drop box available 24 - 7 days. It’s a big green box with a sheriff star on it and sits right in the lobby. There you can drop Prescription Medications, Ointments & Liquids (just keep them in the bottles), over the counter medications, vitamins and pet meds.
EF: It’s locked. It’s secured down to the floor, so no one can walk out with those medicines. And then we’ve got deputies assigned to making sure that gets emptied out and taken over to our Evidence area…
That’s where they destroy it!
EF: They take them down to a closed incinerator and those medicines are actually burned and they don’t give off the gases. It’s a very special way they get rid of them – the same way that we get rid of all our drugs that we seize.
This drop off box may be new, but the program is not.
EF: Going back about 6 years now, maybe 7 years, we first started Operation Medicine Cabinet.
They set up temporary drop off locations… out in the community on weekends… with the help of volunteers… where citizens could bring the old medicines safely.
A few years later, they got their first drop off box for the lobby.
Now they have replaced it with the new and improved box… just in the time for the start of 2019.
EF: If somebody passes away in your family and you need to dispose of those properly – this is the way to do it. Bring them in, put them in that box. Let us get rid of them safely whether it is yours or somebody else’s. Let’s say you wake up one day – you are a drug addict and you decide you want to quit. Bring them down and put them in the box. Get rid of them that is a great place to get rid of them.
If those drugs are illegal, then don’t put them in the box.
But you can still call the Sheriff’s Office for help in getting rid of it.
EF: I just want people to know to feel comfortable. There’s a lot of times where people are concerned where they are scared about calling us because they’ll say well, I don’t want the police to come and think this is mine. You know if you located drugs or you located something – it’s ok to call us and let us know about that. I had that situation this weekend actually - somebody located some marijuana and they were concerned about calling because they didn’t want us to think it was theirs.
We ask about the Opioid crisis. Are we seeing it here?
EF: “Oh yes. Yes, the opioid epidemic is not something new to our area. We’ve been seeing it for several years now. While it’s not new, we are seeing changes in the epidemic. Back in 2010, roxycodone which is oxycodone was a big player in the game … and we are starting to see that sort of subside. And now fentanyl is a big problem. Morphine is a big problem. And we are starting to see mixes and concoctions of other drugs that are coming in. All of our deputies are armed with an injector which is a reversal agent which we’ve brought back to life about 12 people. We’ve saved about 12 lives as a result of that.”
Flowers points out those injectors were paid for by a state grant, and not tax dollars.
The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office is located at 4055 41st Avenue in Vero Beach.