Thursday, 25 March 2010 13:49

Prescription Drug Abuse - Attacked by All Fronts

Written by  Sheriff Jim Coats
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Prescription Drug Abuse Attacked on All FrontsWe’re Attacking Prescription Drug Abuse on Several Fronts

They are in your home, sitting in your medicine cabinets, expired, unused and perhaps forgotten. Unfortunately, when they fall into the wrong hands, the consequences can be tragic. They are: prescription drugs.

It is a little-known fact that the illegal use of prescription drugs like Oxycodone and Xanax has now exceeded the abuse of dangerous, illegal drugs like cocaine and marijuana.  

Often times these drugs end up in the hands of our youth because they are so easily accessible. In one survey, 64-percent of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 said they obtain prescription drugs from their home or the home of a relative or friend. The drugs then may end up being used, or sold on the street, causing more dependency and addiction.

In an effort to raise public awareness and to work together to combat this alarming trend, our Narcotics Diversion Unit is tackling the problem on various fronts and through the development of various community and law enforcement partnerships.

Operation Medicine Cabinet

First, our Narcotics Diversion Unit is planning its third Operation Medicine Cabinet from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, 2010.

Operation Medicine Cabinet invites private citizens to bring unused or expired medications (no bio-hazards or needles) to various drop-off locations in their community for safe disposal. The effort is one way that the community can actively reduce prescription drug abuse, by removing the source from their homes and from within reach.

The Sheriff’s Office locations for this round of Operation Medicine Cabinet are the Sweet Bay Supermarkets located at:

  • 6851 Gulfport Boulevard, South Pasadena
  • 1360 Tampa Road, Palm Harbor
  • 1681 Main Street, Dunedin  

The St. Petersburg Police Department will receive medications at the Sweet Bay Supermarkets at:

  • 1794 22nd Street South, St. Petersburg
  • 955 62Avenue South, St. Petersburg 
  • 3327 Martin Luther King Jr. Street North, St. Petersburg

Additional locations may be added. Please check our website at and use the “News Release” function for updated information..

 “Operation Pill Poppers

Our Diversion Unit along with the St. Petersburg Police Department recently wrapped up “Operation Pill Poppers,” a ten-month-long investigation targeting suspects who obtained various types of prescription pills through fraudulent means, doctor shopping and trafficking.

Detectives identified a total of 74 suspects. The pills obtained had a street value of $750,000. So far 36 of those suspects have been arrested.

Other local law enforcement agencies are joining our Diversion Unit in the fight against the problem of prescription drug abuse. It is our hope that the combined efforts of public education and law enforcement will serve to make our community stronger and safer.

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