Captain Russell Davenport and investigators Kasey Neal and Jason Cleary with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit enter dosage numbers into their laptops at the last Operation Medicine Drop in March. Operation Medicine Drop is a DEA-sanctioned event, in which over the counter and prescription medications can be turned in to law enforcement for safe disposal. (WDN File Photo/Vail Stewart Rumley)

Archived Story

Medication drop scheduled Saturday

Published 1:17am Thursday, September 27, 2012

Come on, everybody’s doing it: that is, dropping their unused and expired meds off with the people who know how to get rid of them.
Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and the public is invited to hand over their over-the-counter and prescription drugs to law enforcement at two Operation Medicine Drop locations in Washington: the parking lot of Walmart and the parking lot of Lowe’s Home Improvement. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., officers with the Washington Police Department and investigators with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit will be collecting meds, tallying dosage units then sealing boxes of pharmaceuticals up for destruction. The drop-off is easy: just hand them over, no names or information needed.
The DEA-sanctioned event is held in the spring and fall each year, giving people the option to get rid of the contents of their medicine cabinets biannually in a safe and effective way. According to Safe Kids NC, the partnering organization of Operation Medicine Drop, in March more than 7.7 million doses were collected at almost 300 events statewide.
This week 148 events will be held in 56 North Carolina counties to do the same.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for people to properly dispose of unwanted medications,” said Investigator Greg Rowe, the drug diversion officer with the sheriff’s office drug unit.
Rowe was hired three weeks ago to fill the new position at the sheriff’s office — a position created because of the prevalence of prescription drug cases the drug unit investigates. Mid-August, the total for the year was 55 and that number grows weekly. Rowe pointed out that one of the ways those selling prescription meds illegally procure the drugs is through theft — a good reason to get rid of what’s not being used in the medicine chest at home.
“It’s that many more that we don’t have to worry about getting into the water, out on the street, or worry about someone overdosing on,” explained Capt. Russell Davenport, head of the drug unit.
Flushing pills down sinks and toilets is not an option anymore: pharmaceutical drugs are showing up in estuary waters because sewage treatment systems aren’t yet sophisticated enough to isolate the drugs. According to Heather Jacobs Deck, Pamlico-Tar River riverkeeper, said in an interview last March that the U.S. Geological Survey has tested the Tar River and found elements of hormones, antibiotics, seizure drugs and more.
Operation Medicine Drop doesn’t draw the line at medicine for humans: veterinary medicines are accepted, as well.
At Lowe’s, the sheriff’s office is expecting a good turnout. The Washington Police Department will be manning the drop-off point at Walmart. Weathering providing, drive-up service will be offered at both locations.

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