Operation Medicine Drop returns Saturday

Published 6:30 pm Thursday, October 25, 2018

In thousands of medicine cabinets throughout Beaufort County, unused, expired and potentially dangerous prescription and over the counter medications sit, sometimes for years, without proper disposal.

In a bad scenario, these medications could end up flushed down a toilet, contaminating the waters of the Pamlico River. In an even worse scenario, they could end up in the hands of someone addicted to drugs, abused for a high. In the worst-case scenario, they could end up in the hands of a child, creating potential for a tragedy.

Through Operation Medicine Drop, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office offers a safe alternative for disposal in hopes of preventing these things from happening. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, the BCSO will host the biannual event in the parking lot of Lowe’s Home Improvement.

According to BCSO Drug Unit Lt. Russell Davenport, the event offers a valuable service and helps combat the issue of prescription drug abuse in the area.

“It’s not only in Beaufort County,” Davenport said. “It’s all over the state. We’ve had more specialized training in the past 10 years on opiates and prescription medications than anything else.”

Among those who might consider utilizing the drop-off, Davenport says that family members who have lost loved ones may want to use this as an opportunity to get rid of unneeded medications that could potentially be misused. Those same pills can also make homes the target of theft.

“They may have an abundance of pain pills that they want removed from the house because they’ve had people in the family with opiate problems, and they don’t want them coming into the house and taking them,” Davenport said. “We’ve also had kids that have gotten a hold of them, and we don’t want that happening.”

According to numbers provided by BCSO Drug Diversion Investigator Greg Rowe, in 2017, Operation Medicine Drop collected a total of 189 pounds of unneeded prescription medications in Beaufort County, with 72 pounds collected in March and 117 taken up last October.

“We’ve gotten a really good response from it,” Rowe said. “It gives people the option to dispose of these drugs properly.”

In addition to the Operation Medicine Drop event this weekend, the BCSO also maintains a drop box in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office that is accessible from 8 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. While liquids and needles are not accepted in the drop box, they will be accepted at the event tomorrow.