Operation Medicine Drop: Keeping Communities Safe through Medication Disposal Efforts in North Carolina

Operation Medicine Drop hosted by ECU Health gathers unused prescription drugs for proper disposal.

In 2010, Operation Medicine Drop was launched as a convenient and free option for the public to dispose of their prescription and over-the-counter medications. Since then, campaigns have successfully incinerated more than 266 million pills collected through permanent drop boxes and over 4,000 events across North Carolina. This collaborative effort between Safe Kids North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the State Bureau of Investigation is working to keep communities safe by promoting safe medication disposal and protecting them from the dangers of unused or expired medications.

Lillie Malpass, executive director at PCCSU, emphasized the importance of medication disposal events in keeping the community safe. Safe storage and disposal help prevent medications from ending up in the wrong hands, particularly those of youth and children. Community organizations have partnered to provide resources, including lockboxes for medications, as part of these efforts.

Local sheriff’s offices, police departments, and some fire departments maintain permanent medication drop boxes for those who are unable to attend events like Operation Medicine Drop. These drop boxes offer a convenient option for safe medication disposal throughout the year. By using these boxes instead of flushing pills down toilets or throwing them in trash cans, individuals can help protect their families and the environment from harmful chemicals that could leach into waterways or pollute landfills.

Operation Medicine Drop has become an essential tool for preventing drug abuse and ensuring public safety in North Carolina. With its continued success in collecting millions of pills each year, this program is making a real difference in keeping communities healthy and secure.

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