For Immediate Release: March 13, 2013
Operation Medicine Drop Events Coming to a Town Near You
More than 200 events statewide allow communities to securely dispose of medications.
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin announced that between March 17-23, 2013, Safe Kids North Carolina and Operation Medicine Drop will provide a landmark number of sites throughout the state where the public can safely and conveniently dispose of unused or expired prescription or over-the-counter medications.
"Everyone in the community can do their part to prevent accidental poisonings, keep drugs out of the wrong hands and keep our waters clean by dropping off their unused and expired medicines at an Operation Medicine Drop site," said Goodwin, chair of Safe Kids North Carolina.
Operation Medicine Drop coincides with National Poison Prevention Week each year and includes a statewide blitz of events where the public is invited to drop off medications for safe and secure disposal. A partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Insurance, the State Bureau of Investigation, Riverkeepers Alliance and other local agencies, Operation Medicine Drop retrieved and destroyed more than 30 million dosages of medications over the past three years.
"We will take over-the-counter drugs, prescriptions, samples and pet medication; basically any medication that you no longer need," Safe Kids North Carolina Director Kelly Ransdell said.
Each year since 2001, an average of nearly 80,000 unintentional non-fatal poisonings among children were treated in emergency rooms throughout the country, with medications being the predominant cause of poisonings among young children. Among pediatric exposures, there has been a decrease in the exposures to cough and cold medicines, but an increase in exposure to pain killers since 2006.
Why should you participate in Operation Medicine Drop?
- To prevent poisonings: Poisoning from prescription medications is on the rise in North Carolina and death rates exceed the national rate. Since 1999, approximately 6,900 people in North Carolina have died from unintentional poisonings, according to the North Carolina Division of Public Health.
- To fight drug abuse: Many people think prescription and over-the-counter drugs are safe because they have legitimate uses, but when used improperly, they can be just as dangerous and addictive as illegal substances.
- To protect our waterways: Throwing medicines in the garbage, or flushing them down the toilet or sink, leads to water contamination and harms aquatic life.
Caregivers should be mindful of safety tips to keep children safe from poisons. Children who are younger than 6 years old are the most likely to be poisoned. A child’s age, weight and medical history will affect the treatment of a poisoning.
To avoid poisonings when taking care of children, be aware of the following tips:
- All medicines and household cleaning products should be stored in locked 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.
- Safety latches on drawers or cabinets, and child-resistant caps on bottles, are helpful in keeping poisons out of the hands of children.
To find a take-back event near you and learn more about Operation Medicine Drop, go to www.ncsafekids.org.