ANNANDALE, Va. - When 24-year-old Caitlin Acosta of Falls Church, Va., was just 12 she reached into the family medicine cabinet and changed her life forever.
Like many 8th grade adolescents, Acosta says she was self-conscious, uncomfortable with her appearance and filled with angst.
"I was looking for something outside myself to make me feel better, and I accidentally came across some prescription drugs, a bottle of Percocet, in my parents' medicine cabinet," she says.
Percocet is a pain medication made with acetaminophen and oxycodone.
It was downhill from there. Caitlin had eight years of drug and alcohol abuse that included Oxycontin (oxycodone) and the anxiety medicine Xanax.
"I couldn't keep a job. I started to lose my relationship with my family. I didn't really have any friends. I wasn't able to do normal things that a 19, 20-year-old girl would do because I was worried about getting high all the time," Acosta says.
Four years into recovery, the former drug addict has some advice for people about cleaning out their medicine cabinets.
"Get rid of those medications they no longer need," says Acosta.
Fairfax County holds its 6th annual Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout from May 27 to June 1.
Unwanted and expired medications can be dropped off at six Fairfax County police stations. It's free and confidential.
Here are the locations:
- Franconia District Station, 6121 Franconia Rd., Alexandria, Va. 22310
- Mason District Station, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, Va. 22003
- Sully District Station, 4900 Stonecroft Blvd., Chantilly, Va. 20151
- West Springfield District Station, 6140 Rolling Rd., Springfield, Va. 22152
- Mount Vernon District Station, 2511 Parkers Lane, Alexandria, Va. 22306
- Reston District Station, 12000 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston, Va. 20190
The Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County, devoted to discouraging drug abuse among young people, says the cabinet clean out helps prevent drug abuse, accidental poisoning and protects the environment by preventing the medications from being flushed into waterways.
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