The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

March 18, 2013

Sheriff's department to hold operation medicine drop


TARBORO — The Edgecombe County Sheriff's Department is partnering with local businesses and agencies to curtail the illegal use of prescription drugs by offering locations to drop off out dated over-the-counter and prescription-filled medicine.

Drop off will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Piggly Wiggly in Pinetops, Wal-Mart in Tarboro, OIC Center in Rocky Mount, West Edgecombe Volunteer Fire Department and Whitakers Volunteer Fire Department.

"With the popularity of prescription drug abuse by younger people, it's very important to get unused drugs out of the cabinets and dispose of them properly," said Edgecombe County Sherriff James Knight. "A lot of time, they are in cabinets and older people don't think about them being there, but the younger people do. This drop off will allow us to prevent prescription drug abuse and overdose."

The drugs will be collected and properly disposed of, which is another critical aspect for the collection.

"Some people flush them in the commode," Knight said. "Doing that is not good because it can get in the water system and hurt the environment."

Commonly abused prescription and over-the-counter drugs include painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs, stimulants and cough and cold medicines. An estimated 42 percent of all prescription drugs go unused in the U.S., which is contributing factor to young people having access to deadly pain medication.

Last year, more than 8 million doses of old prescription and over-the-counter drugs were collected at events held across the state. Among the drugs collected were controlled substances such as Hydrocoden, Oxycodone and Fentanyl patches.

Nationwide, fatal drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death due to unintentional injury, according to the U.S. Center of Disease Control. Prescription and over-the-counter medications cause more than three-fourths of all unintentional poisoning in North Carolina, according to the N.C. Division of Public Health and approximately 1,000 people died in the state last in 2011 from overdosing on prescription drugs.

The sheriff's department will provide pickup for people who are unable to make it to the sites. For more information, call 641-7911.