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.

In total, 22,494,000 pills were collected from more than 100 events and 250 drop box locations across North Carolina on Saturday, October 27.

The prescription medications were delivered to a state-approved incinerator where they were destroyed.

“Operation Medicine Drop is a life-saving program and I am happy to partner with various law enforcement and Safe Kids coalitions across North Carolina to keep medicines and prescription drugs out of the wrong hands,” said Commissioner Causey. “Medications should always be locked out of reach of children and should always be disposed of in a safe way.”

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.

During this year’s statewide Operation Medicine Drop tour and the DEA’s recent Take-Back event, hundreds of North Carolinians removed dangerous medications from their homes by taking the prescription pills to various take-back events or by utilizing permanent drop boxes at designated safe locations like drug stores or law enforcement centers.

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

  • Collected over 152 million pills
  • Supported over 3,400 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. 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.

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.