Operation Pill Drop to protect kids from prescription medicine - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Operation Pill Drop to protect kids from prescription medicine

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

Take a look at this medicine box. Can you tell which are medicine tablets and which are the candies? A child may not be able to tell the difference.

"Children's medication they are enhanced with flavorings to make it easier for the child to take," said Rene Hopkins, coordinator of Safe Kids Greater Augusta. "Let's face it, when a child is sick you need them to take their medication, however that creates an illusion for children that medication is tasty."

In an effort to get those candy-looking prescription drugs out of the home, Safe Kids Greater Augusta led by the Children's Hospital of Georgia and the Columbia County Sheriff's Office are teaming up for Operation Pill Drop. This weekend they'll collect unneeded, unwanted, and expired prescription drugs, then put in an incinerator to keep them from landfills.

"Poisoning is a high injury risk area particularly those between the ages of 1 and 4, but it's not immune by any age," Hopkins said.

Last year, just in the state of Georgia, there were three fatalities, more than 200 hospital discharges and more than 3,500 emergency room visits from minors being poisoned. In fact, a new study revealed one in four teenagers will misuse or abuse prescription medicine; a 33 percent increase in five years. Experts say the growing trend is very dangerous.

"It does go into your blood stream, and it can go into any part of your body; vital organs. And if you don't know if that drug is appropriate for you, and your doctor isn't monitoring it, there could be consequences."

And whether these drugs are taken on purpose or by accident, officials are making sure they're not being taken at all.

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