Cleaning out medicine cabinets

Unwanted medications collected during Operation Medicine Drop
Mar. 23, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Pills, capsules and liquids in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes were counted by the thousands Saturday during the Rutherford County Operation Medicine Drop take-back event.

A variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications were collected, counted and logged at three drop-off locations including Food Lion in Rutherfordton, Food Lion in Forest City and the Ellenboro Fire Department. Medications collected included liquids, pills and even pet medicines.

During the county's last Operation Medicine Drop on Oct. 26, 2013, residents cleaned out their medicine cabinets and turned in 21,561 pills. Approximately 673 of the pills collected were controlled substances, according to the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department.

Operation Medicine Drop is a partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina, the Riverkeepers of North Carolina, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of North Carolina and local law enforcement agencies working together to encourage the public to safely dispose of medications.

The medications as well as prescription containers collected during the event are gathered by the SBI and delivered by the North Carolina Highway Patrol to a Division of Environment and Natural Resources approved incinerator for safe destruction.

Operation Medicine Drop is held twice a year in the county, and if people failed to make it out to a drop location on Saturday, there are also two year-round, permanent drop-off boxes located in the lobbies of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office and Forest City Police Department.

Safely disposing of expired and unwanted medications through Operation Medicine Drop events and permanent drop boxes helps keep drugs from being misused or abused with potentially deadly consequences, and also assists in protecting local waters from contamination.

Since 2010, Operation Medicine Drop has collected more than 30 million pills at almost 1,000 events.