Julia Roberts Goad
SOUTH WILLIAMSON, Ky. - UNITE Pike, the anti-drug task force, is inviting the public to get rid of out-of-date and unused prescription drugs Tuesday by feeding the Pill Dragon.
The Pill Dragon, on permanent loan from the National Guard, made its debut on August 6, 2010. The incinerators will help families, rural law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, veterinary clinics, nursing homes, Hospice centers and others dispose of medications in an environmentally friendly fashion.
Through May 2012, UNITE’s Pill Dragon had destroyed 916,383 pills. Powered by diesel fuel, the dragon burns at up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit to safely and efficiently reduce medications to ash for disposal.
For years the generally accepted method for disposing of old or left over medications was to flush it down the toilet. This practice, however, has been strongly discouraged for the past decade because of concerns about the potential health and environmental effects of antibiotics, hormones, painkillers, depressants and stimulants making their way into our water system and soil.
Another troubling fact is that a vast majority of teens trying prescription drugs for the first time turn to the family medicine cabinet or from a friend’s home. A recent Monitoring the Future study found that seven of the top 10 drugs being abused by high school seniors are legal prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Teens believe that because drugs are prescribed they are safe, but that is true only when taken according to directions and only by the person to whom the drugs were prescribed. Aside from the fact that taking or giving away medicine that is not prescribed to you is illegal, even at small doses the potential exists for serious health effects – including death.
Having extra medicine at your house places you at greater risk of being the victim of a burglary or theft.
The Pill Dragon will be at the South Williamson ARH Pharmacy Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Operation UNITE will have personnel on hand to show how to keep medications safe. The first ten people to drop off medications will receive a free lock box.
For more information, call 1 866 678-6483.