Operation Medicine Drop collects nearly 22 million potentially dangerous pills during statewide campaign


North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey announced that 21.9 million pills were collected during the highly successful fall 2020 statewide Operation Medicine Drop campaign.

The pills, which won’t end up in the wrong hands or in our waterways, were collected by 126 law enforcement agencies and more than 400 drop boxes across North Carolina during the annual Take Back Event.

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, who also chairs Safe Kids North Carolina. “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), the State Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the N.C. Department 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 using 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 216 million pills
  • Supported over 3,800 events
  • Housed more than 445 drop boxes

The opioid epidemic is a state and national crisis with an average of four North Carolinians dying 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 https://www.ncosfm.gov/injury-prevention/operation-medicine-drop.

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