North Carolina Department of Justice
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Operation Medicine Drop collects more than 1 million doses of drugs

Release date: 3/24/2010

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

Raleigh: More than 1 million doses of old prescription and over-the-counter drugs were collected across North Carolina last week as part of Operation Medicine Drop, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.
“In just one week, people across our state went through their medicine cabinets and got rid of more than a million doses of drugs that could have fallen into the wrong hands and been abused,” Cooper said.  “We must continue to get the word out about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, especially among young people.” 
Last week, Cooper, the State Bureau of Investigation, local law enforcement agencies, Safe Kids North Carolina, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sponsored more than 200 prescription drug take-back events across North Carolina as part of National Poison Prevention Week.
The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office collected the most drugs of any participating group with more than 87,000 doses turned in by area residents. The Fayetteville Police Department collected more than 85,000 doses, and the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office collected more than 56,000 doses including doses of the illegal drug ecstasy. 
Among the drugs collected across the state were controlled substances such as Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Fentanyl patches. One site collected an old bottle of liquid morphine that dated from the 1960’s. 
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 has gathered the drugs collected by local law enforcement last week and will deliver 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.
Members of the media who would like to get photos and video of the large truck load of drugs are invited to stop by WASTEC located at 3002 U.S. Highway 421 N in Wilmington between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM this afternoon. Once crews arrive at the site, local staff will be on hand to escort them to the facility. 

Contact:  Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413