For Immediate Release: March 12, 2019

Contact: Ben Powell at 919-807-6008

Operation Medicine Drop fights opioid epidemic with statewide take-back events during National Poison Prevention week

Safely dispose of unneeded medications at an Operation Medicine Drop event near you

RALEIGH -- In recognition of National Poison Prevention Week, which runs March 17-23, Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids NC Chairman Mike Causey encourages North Carolinians to safely dispose of unused or expired medications at one of the Operation Medicine Drop take-back events around the state.

"Poisonings and deaths occur when prescription drugs end up in the wrong hands," said Commissioner Causey. "That's why I am touring the state to protect our communities and environment by educating residents about the responsible way to get rid of unused medication."

For the first time, unintentional poisoning is the leading cause of injury death to North Carolinians, surpassing motor vehicle deaths.

From 1999 to 2017, more than 13,000 North Carolinians died from opioid-related overdoses. In 2017 alone, the cost of unintentional opioid-related overdose deaths in North Carolina totaled over $2.5 billion.

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.

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—by incinerating them. Drugs should not be flushed or thrown away in the garbage because they may contaminate water sources.

Safe Kids N.C. will host medicine take-back media events and press conferences at the following locations:

Since 2010, Operation Medicine Drop campaigns have successfully incinerated more than 152 million pills collected through permanent drop boxes and more than 3,000 events across North Carolina.

Operation Medicine Drop is a partnership between Safe Kids North Carolina (within the N.C. Department of Insurance), North Carolina Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency, and the State Bureau of Investigation.

For more information about Operation Medicine Drop including a list of permanent drop-off locations, visit the Safe Kids section of the North Carolina Department of Insurance website at www.ncdoi.com/osfm/safekids/Default.aspx.

--NCDOI--