Setting records for a good cause

Published 5:38 pm Friday, November 3, 2017

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation delivered more than 13 tons of prescription pills to an incinerator this week — the final result of Operation Medicine Drop, a statewide campaign to collect and safely dispose of unused medications. The amount collected breaks a record for a one-time event in the state and exceeds the amount collected per year from 2013 to 2015.

People are beginning to understand the importance of not keeping medication around “just in case,” according to John Keane, the special agent in charge of the SBI’s Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit.

“This was a huge success in getting dangerous opioids out of people’s medicine cabinets and away from children and those with drug addictions,” Keane stated in a press release.

Here in Beaufort County, investigators with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit collected 117 pounds-worth of pills, or an estimated 81,500 dosages, according to BCSO diversion officer Investigator Greg Rowe. It was a pretty low turnout compared to years past, but there’s a reason for that: several years ago, the sheriff’s office set up a permanent drop box in the lobby of the BCSO building. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, as long as the office is open, people are able to drop off their drugs, no questions asked.

Rowe said, based on the consistent numbers, the drop-off box is working.

The ones who know about it, use it, but it would work even better if everyone knew about it, he said.

Beaufort County residents don’t have to wait around for the twice-a-year Operation Medicine Drop. Everyone can do his share to battle the opioid epidemic that has swept Beaufort County, the state and the nation, and remove the temptation of drugs from the addict’s reach.