For Immediate Release: March 13, 2015

Operation Medicine Drop Aims to Prevent Poisonings

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin encourages North Carolinians to safely dispose of unused or expired medications during Poison Prevention Week, March 15-21, 2015, at one of more than 220 Operation Medicine Drop events around the state.

"Poisonings and deaths occur when medicines and prescription drugs end up in the wrong hands," said Goodwin. "Medications should always be locked out of reach of children, and when medicines are no longer needed, they should be disposed of in a safe way."

Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning, with more than 67,000 children going to an emergency room for medicine poisoning each year, according to a study by Safe Kids Worldwide. That's one child every eight minutes.

During Operation Medicine Drop events, people can drop off over-the-counter drugs, prescriptions, samples and pet medications with no questions asked. Law enforcement partners will help dispose of the medications in the same secure way they dispose of other drug items. Drugs should not be flushed or thrown away in the garbage because they may contaminate water sources.

A partnership of the N.C. Department of Insurance's Safe Kids North Carolina program, the State Bureau of Investigation, Riverkeepers Alliance and other agencies, Operation Medicine Drop events have retrieved and destroyed approximately 75 million doses of medications at 1,800 events since 2010.

To help prevent poisonings when taking care of children, follow these tips:

To find an Operation Medicine Drop event or permanent medication drop box near you, go to www.ncsafekids.org.

--NCDOI--