Countywide OMD nets 90,000 medsPublished 9:12pm Monday, March 25, 2013
Law enforcement officials across the county are calling last week’s Operation Medicine Drop events a success, with nearly 90,000 prescription, over the counter and veterinary drugs turned over for safe disposal.
According to Chief David Kendrick, Aurora’s interim police chief, the turnout of last Wednesday’s event in Aurora was beyond what he expected.
“We were extremely pleased,” Kendrick said. “We were figuring on three or four thousand (dosages), but we more than doubled that.”
Kendrick, along with volunteers from the Aurora Woman’s Club, collected 371 dosages of controlled substances; 2,751 of over the counter meds; 5,043 of prescription medications; and 828 other substance dosages.
Camped in front of Walmart in Washington, Washington police collected 18,000 dosages at the Saturday event that brought a constant stream of traffic to the pill drop site, according to Det. Andy Dawley.
“I think more people are become aware of the pill drops. A lot of people are going to pharmacies and asking where they can take their drugs (for disposal),” Dawley said.
At Lowe’s Home Improvement, the narcotics unit of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office more than matched totals from April 2012’s OMD, with a total of 62,515 dosage units turned in.
“We were tearing down and still had people pulling up, wanting to drop them off,” said Inv. Greg Rowe, the unit’s drug diversion officer.
Rowe said the unit’s high totals could partially be attributed to those who dropped off “bags full” of medications from the recently deceased, as well as local doctor’s office employees disposing of expired medications. But in the weeks leading up to the event, Rowe said he visited dentist and doctors’ offices, nursing homes, hospitals and pharmacies across the county, delivering fliers for the event, in order to raise awareness of OMD.
Last year, over 1,000 prescription medication overdose deaths occurred in North Carolina, some of which could have been averted by victims’ friends and family, had they disposed of drugs before they could be abused.
In Aurora, Kendrick hopes to continue the effort to collect and properly dispose of the drugs with a fall OMDs. Dawley said Washington police are looking into putting a permanent pill drop box in place at the police department, so that people will have a safe drug-disposal option every day of the year, in addition to the drop-off events.