PLANT CITY, FL - You heard the stories of police officers nearly dying after touching fentanyl.

Now, local non-profits on the front line of fighting the opioid addiction in Tampa Bay also need to protect themselves.

“Gloves are really important as a barrier because some of the medications we’re are collecting are so potent that even a little on your skin can cause trouble,” says Gary White, Associate director of the Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance.

White was out Saturday morning at a CVS in Plant City for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

The event is meant to give people a safe and convenient way to dispose of their unwanted medication.

It’s not safe to flush medication down the toilet.

White says they received a lot of Hydrocodone, oxycontin, and fentanyl patches in a matter of hours.

“Some people have been known to break open the patch. It has that high potent medication and mix it with other medication with like oxycontin or Hydrocodone which can cause overdose or death,” says White.

Something surprising was the amount of pet medication that was brought in.

White says the organization has seen a huge issue with drug addicts becoming so desperate, they take their pets to the vet to get medication and use it to get high.

“When the pill mills were shut down in Florida, the people looking to get high had to look to other places to get it. They found creative ways, so they would go to the veterinarian and say my pet has pain, and use that for a high,” he says.

HCADA knows this has been an issue, so they’ve been making people aware to dispose of pet medication as well.

HCADA partnered with law enforcement, DACCO, USF College of Pharmacy, NOPE, CVS, Winn Dixie, Walgreens to collect unused and expired medications and safely dispose of them.

If you missed the event, Hillsborough County has permanent drug drop off boxes at four patrol district offices.

These are the locations:

  • District 1: 14102 N. 20th St., Tampa, FL
  • District 2: 2310 N. Falkenburg Road, Tampa, FL
  • District 3: 7202 Gunn Highway, Tampa, FL
  • District 4 503 33rd St. SE, Ruskin, FL

You can bring these items :

  • Pill bottles
  • Boxes and/or packaged drug items
  • Patches
  • Powders
  • Liquids (properly sealed)
  • Inhalers
  • Veterinarian Prescription Drugs

These items are not acceptable

  • Syringes
  • EpiPens
  • Biohazards
  • Medical equipment
  • Any drug items from a narcotic or death investigation
  • Any illegal street drugs

This chart is handy, giving you visuals on what drugs look like.

This was the 14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The Drug Enforcement Administration says they’ve collected more than 8.1 million pounds of pills since they started the event.

Last April, 900,000 pounds of drugs were brought in, at close to 5,500 sites across the nation.

On Saturday, the following totals were collected:

  • Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office collected 247 pounds.
  • Tampa Police Department collected 127 pounds.
  • University of South Florida Police Dept. collected 107 pounds.
  • Plant City Police Dept. collected 71 pounds.
  • The city of Clearwater collected 678 pounds.

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