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AG Cooper urges residents to clean out their medicine cabinets

Release date: 3/18/2013

More than 250 drug take back events to be held across North Carolina this week

Raleigh: North Carolinians are encouraged to safely dispose of old prescription and over-the-counter drugs this week as part of the fourth annual Operation Medicine Drop, Attorney General Roy Cooper said today.
 
Cooper, the State Bureau of Investigation, Safe Kids North Carolina, local law enforcement agencies, the Riverkeepers of North Carolina and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of North Carolina are teaming up for the fourth year to sponsor prescription drug take-back events across North Carolina during National Poison Prevention Week, March 16-23. 
 
“Start your spring cleaning by cleaning out your medicine cabinet and safely disposing of old medications,” urged Cooper. “Not only are you keeping drugs out of the hands of abusers but you’re also helping to protect our environment and our waterways.”
 
Operation Medicine Drop aims to cut down on prescription drug abuse by encouraging people to properly dispose of old drugs that they no longer need. Cooper encouraged all North Carolina sheriffs and chiefs of police to plan prescription take-back events in their communities in cooperation with local non-profits and other groups.
 
More than 250 Operation Medicine Drop events are scheduled across the state this week. See the complete list of events for times and locations. 
 
Last year, more than 15 million doses of old prescription and over-the-counter drugs were collected at events held across the state during March and October. Among the drugs collected were controlled substances such as Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Fentanyl patches.
 
Nationwide, fatal drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death due to unintentional injury, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Prescription and over-the-counter medications cause more than three-fourths of all unintentional poisonings in North Carolina, according to the N.C. Division of Public Health, and approximately 1,000 people died in North Carolina last year from overdosing on prescription drugs.
 
The intentional abuse of prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives to get high is a growing concern, particularly among teens. Among people ages 12-17, prescription drugs are now the second most abused drug, behind marijuana. 
 
“We must remove these potentially dangerous drugs from our homes to help prevent them from getting into the wrong hands,” Cooper said. “These take-back events are an important part of our efforts to fight prescription drug abuse.”
 
Law enforcement agencies that collect drugs this week will then turn them over to the SBI for safe disposal. The SBI will destroy the drugs using incinerators approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
 
More information about Operation Medicine Drop is available at www.ncdoj.gov

  Contact:  Noelle Talley, (919) 716-6413