For Immediate Release: March 9, 2010

Contacts: Kristin Milam 919-807-6011

Operation Medicine Drop Disposes of Unused, Expired Prescriptions

Nearly 200 take-back events statewide offer public safe, secure way to dispose of medications

RALEIGH -- Poisoning from prescription medications is on the rise in North Carolina - since 1999 more than 75 percent of all unintentional poisonings were caused by prescription or over-the-counter medications (source N.C. Division of Public Health). Operation Medicine Drop is aimed at providing the public a safe and secure method for disposing of their prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Children ages 1-5 account for 23 percent of all emergency department visits related to poisoning and these types of injuries result in a high death rate of infants younger than 1 year old due to their smaller size (source World Health Organization 2008 Childhood Injury Report).

"During Poison Prevention Week, March 14-20, Operation Medicine Drop will host nearly 200 take-back events statewide where the public can drop off prescriptions or over-the-counter products that may have expired or are unused," said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. "Every Operation Medicine Drop event will have a law enforcement partner that will help North Carolinians dispose of their medications in a safe and secure way." Goodwin, who serves as the Safe Kids North Carolina state chair, added that additional event information is available on the Safe Kids Web site, www.ncsafekids.org.

While most parents and caregivers are familiar with other poisoning culprits such as cleaning supplies and poisonous plants, most childhood poisonings occur from medications. Whether a person is injured or dies is determined by many factors such as dosing, size of child, condition of child's health, and means of ingestion. The best form of prevention is to remove any risk from a child's environment.

Operation Medicine Drop is sponsored across North Carolina by Safe Kids North Carolina, the N.C. Department of Insurance, State Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration. For more information about Operation Medicine Drop or for a schedule of statewide take-back events, visit www.ncsafekids.org and click on the Operation Medicine Drop logo.

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