Operation Medicine Drop aims to fight opioid epidemic by preventing poisonings



Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids NC Chairman Mike Causey encourages North Carolinians to safely dispose of unused or expired medications at one of more than 70 Operation Medicine Drop events around the state on Saturday, October 27.

“Operation Medicine Drop saves lives,” Commissioner Causey said. “Poisonings and deaths occur when medicines and prescription drugs end up in the wrong hands. Medications should always be locked out of reach of children, and when medicines are no longer needed, they should be disposed of in a safe way.”

Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning, with more than 67,000 children going to an emergency room for medicine poisoning each year, according to a study by Safe Kids Worldwide. That’s one child every eight minutes.

Operation Medicine Drop is a partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina (within the N.C. Department of Insurance), State Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, the N.C. Dept. of Justice, and local law enforcement agencies.

For a complete list of Operation Medicine Drop take back events on Saturday, October 27, visit the Safe Kids NC website.

Since 2010, Operation Medicine Drop campaigns have successfully achieved the following:

  • Collected over 130 million pills
  • Supported over 3,300 events
  • Houses more than 250 drop boxes

The opioid epidemic is a state and national crisis with an average of four North Carolinians who die per day from an opioid overdose. Forty eight percent of those deaths involve prescription opioids.

To help prevent poisonings when taking care of children, follow these tips:

  • Store and lock all medicines and household cleaning products in cabinets out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Keep children where you can see them at all times, even when you go to answer the door or telephone. Never leave young children alone.
  • Do not leave poisons on a counter or in an unlocked cabinet.
  • Never carry something that can be poisonous, such as a medicine, in a purse where children may find it.
  • Place safety latches on drawers or cabinets, and child-resistant caps on bottles, to keep poisons out of the hands of children.
  • Clean out your medicine cabinets of all unused and expired medications, and bring them to an Operation Medicine Drop event or permanent drop box near you for proper disposal.

For more information about Operation Medicine Drop including a list of permanent drop-off locations, visit the Safe Kids section of the North Carolina Department of Insurance website at www.ncdoi.com/osfm/safekids/Default.aspx.

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.