TUPELO – Police will collect and destroy unused and unwanted medication next week in an attempt to educate parents and children on the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
The two collection events are part of a nationwide D.A.R.E. campaign to curb prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse.
Feb. 22-28 is D.A.R.E. RX/OTC Awareness Week, and Tupelo Police Capt. Ikey Carmack, a D.A.R.E. instructor, said parents need to open their eyes to the dangers of prescription drug abuse by their children.
Most of the prescription drugs abused by children, he said, are found in medicine cabinets after adults are no longer taking them.
During the awareness week, Carmack said D.A.R.E will have community awareness events where people can drop off old prescription drugs to police so they can be properly disposed of. Carmack said even though many people flush them down the toilet, that is not ideal because of environmental hazards.
On Feb. 25, at the Haven Acres Community Center, police will collect unused and unwanted medication from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. They will do the same on Feb. 27 from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at The Mall at Barnes Crossing.
“Illegal drugs are down across the country statistically,” said Carmack. “But prescription drugs are way up. Kids are getting them from medicine cabinets at home and parents are unaware of it. We want to educate parents and kids on the dangers of these drugs.”
The program is a partnership between the Tupelo Police Department and the Lee County Sheriff’s Department. Lt. Sherri Hall, a Lee County D.A.R.E. officer, said parents need to be more aware of in-house drug abuse.
“People seem to think that in order for their kids to get drugs, they have to go in a dark alley and buy them from someone but that isn’t the case anymore,” said Hall.
“It’s easy to open the medicine cabinet and get one of grandma’s pills and take it. Kids even feel it’s safe because a doctor prescribed it. This is why we have to get the word out about the dangers of these drugs.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.