For Immediate Release: March 13, 2014

Time to Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet

200 Operation Medicine Drop events statewide allow secure disposal of medications.

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin announced that during National Poison Prevention Week, March 16-22, 2014, Safe Kids North Carolina will once again spearhead Operation Medicine Drop, a state-wide blitz of events where the public can safely and conveniently dispose of unused or expired prescription or over-the-counter medications.

"Unintentional poisoning deaths continue to occur in North Carolina," said Goodwin, chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. "And every citizen has it in their power to help turn the situation around by properly disposing of their unused and expired medications."

A partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina (housed within the N.C. Department of Insurance), the State Bureau of Investigation, Riverkeepers Alliance and other local agencies, Operation Medicine Drop has retrieved and destroyed more than 52.8 million dosages of medications over the past four years.

"Any medication that is expired or no longer needed — whether it be over-the-counter drugs, prescriptions, samples or pet medication — will be accepted and destroyed, no questions asked," Safe Kids North Carolina Director Kelly Ransdell said.

The number of unintentional poisoning deaths has increased by nearly 300 percent, going from 297 in 1999, to 1,104 in 2012, with a vast majority (91 percent) of these being drug or medication-related.* Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning, with more than 67,000 children going to an emergency room for medicine poisoning each year. That's one child every eight minutes.**

Why should you participate in Operation Medicine Drop?

To avoid poisonings when taking care of children, be aware of the following tips:

To find a take-back event or permanent drop box near you, go to www.ncsafekids.org

--NCDOI--