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November 23, 2014

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Pillapalooza

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Cameron Haymond/University of Southern Nevada

Something ‘bout those little pills…”

Nine hours, one parking lot, and thousands of pills: Welcome to Operation Medicine Cabinet.

It happened last Saturday: People with expired or unwanted prescriptions handed them to Metro police from the comfort of their cars, no questions asked. A drive-through pill drop-off.

Police collected 287 pounds of tablets and pills from more than 200 cars. Yes, that’s almost a pound and a half of pills per car. It’s about 127,000 pills of various sizes and doses—anything from heavy narcotic painkillers to everyday prescriptions. But wait—there’s more!

Police also collected liquid medications and medical materials, like syringes—about 200 pounds’ worth. One guy drove up with 4,000 pills. Another guy had a 30-gallon trash-bag full. And a casino—one police won’t name—came by with a five-gallon bucket of medications left in hotel rooms.

The hope is that collecting pills keeps drugs out of the water supply and away from people who might abuse them—which explains why the Operation was backed by police and the coroner’s office, as well as the Southern Nevada Water Authority, medical professionals and drug awareness groups.

Everybody wants pills disposed of, just for different reasons.

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