Feel Good


Feel Good Report: Saturday Event to Help Safely Dispose of Expired, Unused Medications

Operation Medicine Cabinet takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Find out what to do and where to go.

BY April 24, 2015

Is your medicine cabinet filled with unused or expired drugs? Don’t hold on to them and don’t dump them down the drain.

Drug Free Collier will hold a countywide Operation Medicine Cabinet event to help residents safely dispose of unwanted household medication this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Organizers are hosting this community event at permanent drop boxes located throughout Collier County to highlight the convenience of year-round disposal for local residents.

“We want to encourage local residents to use our permanent drop boxes throughout the year, and not just when we host our countywide events,” Melanie Black, executive director of Drug Free Collier, said in a statement. “With 11 permanent sites in our community, it’s never been easier to safely dispose of unwanted household medication,” she added.

Operation Medicine Cabinet is a free community service offered in partnership with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Naples Police Department, Marco Island Police Department and Collier County Solid & Hazardous Waste Management. “Flushing pills down the toilet or throwing medication away with our household garbage is not recommended,” Black said. “These harmful practices pose unnecessary risks for both our children and our environment.”

Mounting evidence suggests medications are making their way into our water supply. A 2014 Environmental Protection Agency study sampled 50 wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. for 56 common prescription and over-the-counter drugs. More than half the samples tested positive for at least 25 of them. The drugs may be having a negative effect on marine ecosystems, and ongoing research is looking at whether ingesting trace amounts could have negative consequences for us.

Keeping the medicines at home poses a different risk. Teens increasingly are abusing prescription drugs, which they often lift from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, nearly one in five teens has used a prescription drug to get high.

Trained volunteers will help residents safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medication, whether it’s just one bottle of pills or a large bag of assorted medication. It’s free and convenient. No ID required and no questions asked. Please do not bring sharps, as they cannot be accepted. For information on safe disposal of sharps, contact the Collier County Public Utilities Division at 252-7575.

You can bring your medication to the following locations:

North Naples 
CCSO North Naples Substation, 776 Vanderbilt Beach Road
North Collier Recycling Center, 9950 Goodlette-Frank Road

Golden Gate 
CCSO Golden Gate Substation, 4707 Golden Gate Parkway

East Naples 
CCSO Administration, 3319 Tamiami Trail E.
Naples Recycling Center, 2640 W. Enterprise Ave.

Immokalee
CCSO Immokalee Substation, 112 S. First St.

City of Naples 
Naples Police Department, 355 Riverside Circle

Marco Island 
Marco Island Police Department, 51 Bald Eagle Drive          

For additional information, contact Drug Free Collier at (239) 377-0535.