Rogers, UNITE officials celebrated burning of millionth pill

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BOONEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The Operation UNITE Pill Dragon burned its one millionth pill Monday afternoon in Owsley County. Officials said it is just one aspect of how they are fighting the drug epidemic.

Many lawmakers joined Congressman Hal Rogers and community members in participating in National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day which aims to help people protect themselves from drug dangers in their own homes.

Rogers joined dozens in celebrating the burning of the one millionth pill.

“One of those pills could drive you crazy, so we have done away with a million of them,” said Rogers.

Operation UNITE's Pill Dragon travels around and burns up drugs that people may have lying around their homes.

“Studies show that most teenagers that began a drug problem began in their parent's medicine cabinet with prescriptions their parents have received that are no longer being used,” said Rogers.

Rogers and UNITE officials said the med lock drop box is something that is going to help people protect themselves from the dangers that lie in their bathrooms or other common places where medications are stored.

“That's where our youth get their first experience with drugs is from their parents and grandparents' medicine cabinets,” said Dan Smoot of Operation UNITE.
“That is where the term accidental dealer comes from.”

They said the war on drugs cannot be fought without help from the public.

“If you can stop it from ever happening, that is the best way to handle it,” said Owsley County Sheriff Kelly Shouse.

Rogers gave medicine lock boxes to the county sheriff to help people get rid of unwanted drugs even when the Pill Dragon is not in town.

“People, every day they call, just like today we had all that from a couple of people that wanted it out of their house,” said Shouse.
“Now we have a place where we can store it until they come and get it and it will be safe.”

They said they want to make sure prescriptions do not end up in the wrong hands.

Rogers recognized Sen. Robert Stivers of Manchester for his efforts in allocating state funding for Operation UNITE following federal cuts. He also paid tribute to Lt. Col. Brian Howay of the Ky. National Guard for his efforts to help fight the war on drugs.

The Pill Dragon was given to UNITE officials by the Kentucky National Guard in 2010. UNITE officials said medicine lock boxes will be placed in more than 30 sheriff's offices across the fifth congressional district.

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