Project provides safe disposal of medications

Published 7:51 pm Thursday, March 17, 2011

Operation Medicine Drop in Beaufort County is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon March 26 at Lowe’s Home Improvement in Washington.

From Sunday through March 26, hundreds of Operation Medicine Drop events are scheduled across the state.

Operation Medicine Drop is a take-back event that provides the public a safe, secure option to dispose of expired, unused prescription medications or over-the-counter medications to keep them out of the wrong hands, according to a news release.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Beaufort County Developmental Center and the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation are organizing the event.

“Unintentional poisoning from prescription medications is on the rise in North Carolina. Since 1999, nearly 4,500 people have died from prescription poisoning. Operation Medicine Drop offers the public a free and convenient option for disposing of their prescription and over-the-counter medications to protect their families and the environment,” reads the news release.

“At these events, residents can do their part to prevent poisoning, reduce crime and protect water supplies by dropping off their leftover drugs to be incinerated. Properly disposing of our leftover drugs and medicines protects North Carolina’s kids, communities and waters,” reads a PTRF news release.

“If you have drugs that you don’t want anymore, you can bring them to one of these events and we’ll take them off your hands,” said Jennifer Canada with the State Bureau of Investigation. “We won’t ask any questions about what you have or how you got it.”

“If you keep leftover drugs around, they might fall into wrong hands, like your kids’ or grandkids’,” said Kelly Ransdell with SafeKidsNC.

“If you flush your leftover medicines down the toilet, they pollute our water,” said Tess Sanders, White Oak-New Riverkeeper, one of the sponsors. “Then everybody’s taking your medicine without a prescription.”

Government scientists have turned up traces of a wide variety of medicines č pain killers, antibiotics, birth-control pills, mood stabilizers, and others č in rivers, lakes, and streams across the country, according to the PTRF news release. Studies are just now getting under way to determine if this pollution is dangerous to humansŌ but evidence suggests that it is dangerous to animals. Many frog species are in serious decline, and most bass in North Carolina’s Yadkin River have male and female sex organs, and hormones are suspected as part of the cause, the release notes.

More information about Operation Medicine Drop and the dangers that prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications pose to children is available at