Junior hosts drug disposal day and collects 25 pounds of medicine  


Ava Satterfield

Holding medicine collected on her drug disposal day, Tatum Morris smiles. She collected 25 pounds of prescription and over the counter drugs for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.

Ava Satterfield, Cultures Editor

She’s a babysitter, scuba diver, and Girl Scout passionate about the proper disposal of prescription drugs. To encourage a safer community through the discarding of unused medicine, Junior Tatum Morris hosted a drug disposal day on Friday, Dec. 3 at the Davis Islands Pharmacy. 

“As a babysitter, I saw the risks of accidental ingestion in children,” she said. “I realized that a life can be lost in an instant from a small pill carelessly laying around the house. As a scuba diver, I saw firsthand the impact of contaminated waterways. As a teen, I saw classmates use prescription drugs recreationally.” 

The drug disposal day is part of Morris’s project for her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn.

“I have been a Girl Scout since Kindergarten and truly believe it has shaped me to become a GIRL: Go Getter, Innovator, Risk Taker, and Leader,” Morris said. “I will continue to be in Girl Scouts through the rest of high school and will encourage my own children to become involved in this organization as well.” 

Morris partnered with the Tampa Police Department and the Davis Islands Pharmacy for her prescription disposal day. People from all over Tampa came, and Morris collected 25 pounds of medicine. Morris’s Girl Scout project adviser, Keri Eisenbeis, said the event was successful.

“Tatum’s project exceeded expectations,” Eisenbeis said. “Her outreach touched numerous audiences and she established a project framework that’s easy to replicate and sustain.” 

Last year, more than 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses. Millions of teens misuse pharmaceuticals each year. In most cases, medicine related poisoning in children occurs when the child ingests medicine unsupervised. Morris believes these instances are preventable.

“It is sad that many people lost their lives, but it is even worse when you realize it was completely preventable,” she said “Getting unused, unwanted, and expired medicines out of your home is crucial in eliminating the risk of temptation in people of all ages. Children are often told medicine is candy and that it will ‘make them feel better’. In this, they are more likely to take it on their own, often when their parents aren’t looking. Teens face temptation and peer pressures.” 

Improper disposal of drugs has environmental effects, especially for marine life.

“If flushed down the toilet, drugs end up in waterways, risking the health of marine life and polluting the oceans,” Morris said. “If medications are thrown in the trash can, they enter landfills and are burned. This releases toxic fumes that can lead to cancer, reproductive disorders, and worsen climate change.” 

Morris shared three steps to properly dispose of unnecessary drugs at home.

“Gather all unused, unwanted and expired prescriptions or over the counter medications in your home,” she said. “Dispose of them properly by taking them to any CVS where take-back bins are available. Have peace of mind that ‘Your Home is Drug Free’.” 

Morris’s project aims to educate others on the dangers of keeping unneeded medicines and create a safer community.

“Many do not understand the magnitude of impact medicines can have on a life if pills not prescribed to you are taken,” Morris said.


For more information about Tatum Morris’s project: