Safe Kids Wayne County is encouraging residents -- especially those with young children visiting or living in their homes -- to clean out their medicine cabinets.

Operation Medicine Drop, starting today, is the perfect time to get rid of potentially dangerous, expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs, says Shelly Willis, coordinator of the local Safe Kids agency.

The event provides a safe and secure way to dispose of medications, with four sites participating the week of March 19-24.

The participating locations include the Peggy M. Seegars Senior Center from 9 until 11:30 a.m. and Walgreens on East Ash Street from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Representatives will also be at Wayne Community College on Friday, March 23, from 9 until 11 a.m. in Room 161 of Wayne Learning Center, the main building, and at the main entrance of Wayne UNC Health Care on Saturday, March 24, from 9 a.m. until noon.

Operation Medicine Drop is a partnership with the Goldsboro Police Department as well the N.C. Department of Insurance and Safe Kids N.C., the Riverkeepers of N.C. and other law enforcement agencies.

"Every time we collect and destroy a dosage of excess medication, it's a success," said N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey. "We're keeping these drugs out of the wrong hands and out of our waterways.

"I commend Safe Kids Wayne County for actively engaging their community in this initiative to dispose of medications in a safe, secure way."

Parents and caregivers are also encouraged to take precautions to prevent substance abuse, accidental poisonings and theft. Suggestions to ensure this include keeping medications locked up and out of reach of children, and avoiding taking medication or vitamins in front of children, or referring to it as "candy."

The service is free, anonymous and no questions will be asked, officials said.

For more information about Operation Medicine Drop or to find a permanent drop box nearby, visit www.ncsafekids.org.