This Saturday, Clinton residents can seize the opportunity to safely and responsibly clean out their medicine cabinets. A coalition of public health, child safety, law enforcement and environmental organizations teamed up to organize free “Take Back” events across the state. The groups want to keep drugs and medicines out of the wrong hands and public water supplies.
Last year, Clinton and Sampson County residents turned over close to 5,000 old prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs to law enforcement officers as part of “Operation Medicine Drop;” this year, officials are hoping to double that number.
This year’s event will take place Saturday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in front of Walmart in Clinton; and for the first time in the event’s two-year history here, a second location, at Clinton Drug, will be available.
“We are really excited about it,” asserted police Detective Anthony Davis. “We have two locations and are looking forward to getting out there and collecting these unwanted drugs.”
“Operation Medicine Drop” is designed to cut down on prescription drug abuse by encouraging people to properly dispose of old drugs that are no longer needed.
“We get all kinds, from the people who have old, outdated medicines that they don’t know what to do with to a relative whose loved one recently died leaving many medicines in their cabinet,” he said. “We get a lot of questions from the public too, which is always great as well. We will explain how important it is to bring them to us so we can dispose of them properly.”
According to the N.C. Division of Public Health, 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. Among the drugs that have been collected across the state were controlled substances such as Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Fentanyl patches.
“If you have drugs that you don’t want anymore, you can bring them to one of these events and we’ll take them off your hands,” said Jennifer Canada with the State Bureau of Investigation. “We won’t ask any questions about what you have or how you got it.”
About 1 in 5 North Carolina teenagers have tried to get high with prescription medicine, and they usually get the drugs by stealing them from family and friends’ medicine cabinets. There are more deaths today from prescription drug overdoses than there were at the peak of the heroin crisis in the 1970s or the crack cocaine crisis of the 1990s.
“If you flush your leftover medicines down the toilet, they pollute our water,” said Heather Jacobs Deck, Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper, one of the sponsors. “Then everybody’s taking your medicine without a prescription.”
Government scientists have turned up traces of a wide variety of medicines — pain killers, antibiotics, birth control pills, mood stabilizers, and others — in rivers, lakes, and streams across the country.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.