North Carolina Department of Justice
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Operation Medicine Drop collects more than 2.2 million drug doses

Release date: 4/4/2011

Local law enforcement held more than 200 events across NC to fight prescription drug abuse

Raleigh: More than 2.2 million doses of old prescription and over-the-counter drugs were collected across North Carolina during Operation Medicine Drop held March 20-26, more than doubling last year’s amount of 1 million doses, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.
 
“Once again, North Carolina residents cleaned out their medicine cabinets in an effort to keep prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of the hands of those who might abuse them,” Cooper said.  “By supporting events like these, we are continuing to get the word out about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.” 
 
Cooper, the State Bureau of Investigation, local law enforcement agencies, Safe Kids North Carolina, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, The River Keepers and the NC Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition sponsored more than 200 prescription drug take-back events across North Carolina as part of National Poison Prevention Week.
 
Union County collected 201,000 doses turned in by area residents. The city of Charlotte collected 150,000 doses, and New Bern collected 56,000 doses, including doses of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. 
 
Between 18-20% or 360,000 doses of the drugs collected were controlled substances such as Hydrocodone, which are among the most heavily abused drugs. Approximately, 20 pounds of Fentanyl patches were also collected across the state. One site received a large amount of unidentified prescription medications displaying only Asian text. The drugs were believed to be over 30 years old.
 
Operation Medicine Drop aimed to cut down on prescription drug abuse by encouraging people to properly dispose of old drugs that are no longer needed. 
 
Fatal drug overdoses are now a leading cause of death due to unintentional injury in the U.S., second only to motor vehicle accidents. 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. 
 
The SBI gathered the drugs collected by local law enforcement last week and delivered them to WASTEC for disposal. WASTEC is New Hanover County's Waste-to-Energy Conversion facility and its incinerator is approved by the NC Department of Environmental and Natural Resources.

  Contact:  Jennifer Canada, (919) 716-6413