For Immediate Release: October 20, 2011

Operation Medicine Drop and Safe Kids NC Help the DEA Take Back Drugs

Public can drop off medications at sites throughout North Carolina on Oct. 29.

RALEIGH -- On Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Operation Medicine Drop, a grassroots partnership that includes Safe Kids North Carolina, will work with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to provide the public with an opportunity to prevent poisonings, drug abuse and theft, as well as protect our waters by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications.

"So many reported cases of drug abuse and accidental poisonings are fueled by legally obtained drugs that are taken from family and friends or from medicine cabinets," said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. "It is important for all government and law enforcement agencies to work together on events like this one to make sure medications do not end up in the wrong hands."

Each year the DEA holds its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in an effort to get commonly abused drugs out of circulation. On Oct. 29, people can turn in pills, powders and other solid medicines anonymously without fear of prosecution. The service is free and no questions are asked at the collection sites. Uniformed officers and DEA officials will be at the sites to protect the locations and to secure the medications.

Last April, Americans turned in 376,593 pounds -188 tons - of prescription drugs at nearly 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners.

Go to the Operation Medicine Drop Web site by clicking on this link to find a North Carolina take-back event near you.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative
This U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines-flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash-both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Operation Medicine Drop
Operation Medicine Drop is a partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Riverkeepers of North Carolina, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of North Carolina and local law enforcement agencies that works to encourage the public to safely dispose of unused and unwanted medication. By providing safe and secure ways for people to get rid of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications, Operation Medicine Drop helps prevent accidental poisonings and drug abuse while protecting our waters. North Carolina holds its annual Operation Medicine Drop the fourth week of March to coincide with Poison Prevention Week. In the spring of 2011, more than four million doses were collected at almost 300 events. Learn more by clicking on this link.

With unintentional poisoning deaths on the rise in North Carolina, Operation Medicine Drop reminds parents and caregivers to:

--NCDOI--