Operation Medicine Drop collects more than 21,000 pills

Oct. 30, 2013 @ 05:13 AM

Rutherford County residents cleaned out their medicine cabinets and turned in 21, 561 pills during the Operation Medicine Drop take-back event on Saturday, Oct. 26 at three drop locations including Food Lion in Rutherfordton, Food Lion in Forest City and Ellenboro Fire Department.

At the Rutherfordton location 14,703 pills were collected, followed by 4,334 in Forest City and 2,524 from Ellenboro.

Approximately 673 of the pills collected were controlled substances, according to the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department.

"I appreciate all those who participated in Operation Medicine Drop this past Saturday to make it a successful event," said Sheriff Chris Francis. "I still consider it successful having over 21,000 dosage units being turned over for safe disposal, even though in the past our numbers have been higher. It was definitely great to collect all of those controlled substances as well in order to help keep them out of the wrong hands."

While prescription poisoning is on the rise in North Carolina, Operation Medicine Drop gives residents the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

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

Assisting the Sheriff's Office on Saturday were officers from Forest City and Spindale police departments.

The medications collected are gathered by the State Bureau of Investigation and delivered by the North Carolina Highway Patrol to a Division of Environment and Natural Resources approved incinerator for safe destruction.

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

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

"If people failed to make it out on Saturday, there are two permanent drop boxes in the county where they can dispose of their medications," Francis said.

The drop boxes are located in the lobbies of the Sheriff's Office and Forest City Police Department.

"It is always good for the community to come out and be a part of such a great cause," Francis said.