03/18/12 — Police taking old medicine at Walgreens Monday through Thursday

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Police taking old medicine at Walgreens Monday through Thursday

By Gary Popp
Published in News on March 18, 2012 1:50 AM

Several area agencies are coming together this week to provide community members with a safe alternative to dispose of their out-of-date and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Officers with the Goldsboro Police Department and officials with Safe Kids Wayne County will host Operation Medicine Drop from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday at Walgreens, located at the corner of Berkeley Boulevard and Ash Street.

For the third consecutive year, organizers will collect medications that too often result in unintentional poisoning and environmental degradation if not properly discarded.

"We want people to clean out their medicine cabinets of all unused and expired medications," Goldsboro Police Cpl. Marissa Davis said. "We feel that it is very important to get these drugs out of homes and to prevent improper use."

She said statistics show one in five teenagers abuse prescription medications.

"If teens are in the house, programs like this are helpful," Davis said.

Operation Medicine Drop can lead to the prevention of illicit drug use and improper disposal that can be dangerous to people and animals.

Medications that are poured into a drain or flushed down a toilet can enter the soils, rivers, streams and drinking water supply.

"No one wants to drink water that could contain someone else's medication," Ms. Davis said.

Those dropping off their medications are not required to provide any personal information.

Ms. Davis said people can protect their anonymity by marking off their names and other information listed on the prescription bottles before handing them over.

The only information that will be requested is the type of medication to allow officials to property catalogue what is being collected.

Prescribed medications can also be dropped by those other than who the drugs are prescribed to, Ms. Davis said.

"Often people have medications of those who have passed away and they don't know what to do with them," she said. "This is giving them a safe option."

Even drugs that are unidentified and not in prescription bottles will be accepted, she said.

Organizers will be attempting to out do what Ms. Davis said was a huge success at last year's Operation Medicine Drop.

"The first year was a little slow, but last year the response was excellent," she said.

The effort collected four and a half million dosages in its second year, which earned organizers a certificate of appreciation from the N.C. Department of Insurance.

"We are looking at that as our starting point," Ms. Davis said. "We want to do to better than that, but we will need the community to participate."