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 prevent poisonings: Poisoning from prescription medications is on the rise in North Carolina and death rates exceed the national rate.
- 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.
To avoid poisonings when taking care of children, be aware of the following tips:
- Store and lock all medicines and household cleaning products in 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.
- Place safety latches on drawers or cabinets, and child-resistant caps on bottles, to keep poisons out of the hands of children.
- Clean out your medicine cabinets of all unused and expired medications, and bring them to an Operation Medicine Drop event or permanent drop box near you for proper disposal.
To find a take-back event or permanent drop box near you, go to www.ncsafekids.org