For Immediate Release: September 25, 2014

Got Drugs? Take Them to an Operation Medicine Drop Event Near You!

More than 100 events statewide allow people to securely dispose of medications.

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin encourages the public to protect families and the environment by safely disposing unused or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications at Operation Medicine Drop events around the state on Sept. 27. Safe Kids North Carolina and Operation Medicine Drop will partner with national, state and local organizations to host more than 100 medication take-back events in 48 North Carolina counties.

"Every member of our community can play a part in protecting children, preventing overdoses and substance abuse, and saving our waterways from pharmaceutical pollution," said Goodwin, chair of Safe Kids North Carolina. "All Operation Medicine Drop sites will accept and properly dispose of over-the-counter drugs, prescriptions, samples and pet medications with no questions asked."

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.

In addition to properly disposing of medication you no longer need, caregivers should be mindful of the following safety tips to keep children safe from poisons:

Operation Medicine Drop 2014 will be held in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's 9th Annual National Take Back Initiative. It is a coordinated effort by the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Safe Kids North Carolina, the DEA, the State Bureau of Investigation, Riverkeepers of NC and more than 57 law enforcement agencies to prevent accidental poisonings and substance abuse, and to protect North Carolina's waters. Operation Medicine Drop has retrieved and destroyed more than 67 million dosages of medications at nearly 1,600 events since 2010.

To find a take-back event near you and learn more about Operation Medicine Drop, go to www.ncsafekids.org.

--NCDOI--