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Palm Bay Hospital's 'Operation Medicine Cabinet' gets over quarter of a ton of drugs off the streets!

This news was released first on the Health First Twitter account: @HealthFirstNews

PALM BAY, FL - More than a quarter ton of drugs were turned in to authorities at Palm Bay Hospital over the weekend as part of the hospital's 'Operation Medicine Cabinet', a joint effort between the hospital and local law enforcement to reduce the amount of prescription and over-the-counter drugs that can fall into the hands of children and teenagers.

Palm Bay Hospital, together with the Palm Bay Police Department, accepted all non-prescription, over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and even pet medications. On Saturday, April 30, 2011 Palm Bay Hospital collected 545 pounds of pills and other drugs. The effort was part of National Drug Take Back Day by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

"We were stunned by the volume of drugs turned in," said Palm Bay Hospital President Judy Gizinski. "Every pill we collected is a pill that won't find its way into a child's hands. That is exactly why we held the event, and exactly what we were able to accomplish."

Some sobering statistics:

One of the most common drug sources for kids is their own house! Consider these stats from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration:

1-Every day, on average, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time.

2-One in seven teens admit to abusing prescription drugs to get high in the past year. Sixty percent of teens who abused prescription pain relievers did so before the age of 15.

3-Fifty-six percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are easier to get than illicit drugs.

4-Two in five teens believe that prescription drugs are "much safer" than illegal drugs. And three in ten teens believe that prescription pain relievers are not addictive.

5-Sixty-three percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are easy to get from friends' and family's medicine cabinets.

Photos of the drugs collected are available for broadcast and/or publication. Contact Health First Media Relations at 321-412-8810 to have the images emailed to you.