There is a new push to prevent prescription pills from hurting our environment. It is called Operation Medicine Cabinet.
Prescription pills -- there are too many to count. Just think about what you have in your medicine cabinet. Now, think about what happens when people flushed expired or unwanted medications down the toilet.
"It's a major problem. We don't know exactly how major a problem," said Dr. Michael Harbut, an expert in environmental medicine.
He says detectable levels of drugs, such as Prozac, antibiotics, hormones and heart pills, have all been popping up in the water supply. Treatment plants are not set up to fully remove them.
For years, scientists have been worried about the long-term consequences this may have on our health and the environment.
"We used to say this, but we never used think that what goes down the toilet someday will come out of your faucet," Harbut said.
Add to that a growing number of kids illegally abusing prescription pills. That is why the Oakland County Sheriff's Department launched Operation Medicine Cabinet. Drop boxes, such as the one at the sheriff's department in Pontiac, help people safely dispose of drugs.
"We already destroy pharmaceuticals and... illegal narcotics, cocaine and heroin, etcetera, as part of a regular regimen for our Narcotics Enforcement Team. So, we'll just fold these into that same process," said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
This week, the department will add ten new drop boxes in locations, including Southfield, Madison Heights, Birmingham, Holly, Troy and West Bloomfield. All you have to do is sign-in and drop off your unwanted drugs.
"For lots of reasons it makes good sense to get it out of our water. For lots of reasons it makes good sense to get it out of the hands of our young kids," Bouchard said.
You can also bring your prescriptions for disposal to to the Southfield Public Library on Thursday, April 22 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. It is just one more easy way to protect our environment.
For more information about the program and drop-off locations, visit www.operationmedicinecabinetmi.com.