The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 24, 2013

Operation Pill Drop scheduled for Saturday

By VAN HOLLAND
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER

TARBORO —

The Edgecombe County Sheriff's Department is joining Operation Medicine Drop once again Saturday giving citizens the opportunity to bring their unused medicines to five separate locations for disposal. The proper disposal of these medicines can save lives and protect the environment.

Wal Mart, Piggly Wiggly in Pinetops, OIC Center in Rocky Mount, West Edgecombe Volunteer Fire Department and Whitakers Volunteer Fire Department are all safe drop places from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The main reason behind the safe medicine drop is to help curtail the illegal use of prescription drugs and to allow anyone who has outdated medicines to properly dispose of them.

Sheriff James Knight has seen a growing number of people abusing painkillers and overdosing on them. In the past six months, the sheriff's department has received 13 calls in reference to people overdosing on prescription drugs.

"To some, this may not sound like much, but as far as I am concerned, that is too many," Knight said. "Believe it or not, some people actually think that just because medicine is prescribed by a doctor, it shouldn't be as harmful as an illegal drug."

Prescription drugs are highly addictive and every bit as dangerous as street drugs, such as cocaine, heroin and other drugs, he noted.

Knight also has a growing concern about teenagers misusing their parent's painkillers that are just lying around or in medicine cabinets. Almost all prescription drugs involved in overdoses come from prescriptions originally.

"I urge parents to keep a check on their medicines that are located in their medicine cabinets," Knight said. "Some of today's teens are actually using the medicines from their parent's cabinets to get high unknowingly to the family."

However, most of the drug problems come after the drugs are dispensed, because they are diverted to people who are using them without a prescription. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than three out of four people who misuse prescription painkillers use drugs prescribed to someone else. And nearly nine out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs.

Prescription drugs are the second most abused drug among children ages 12-17, according to the National Center on Addiction and Drug Use at Columbia University. Nearly 9 million U.S. teens report they can get prescription drugs illicitly within one day and 5 million say they can get them within one hour.

Most of the time when people discard their pills, they just throw them in the trash, which is one of the easiest ways for anyone to retrieve them and use the medicine.

The use of non-medical prescription drugs ranks second to only marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America.

When abused or misused, prescription drugs can be deadly. Fatal drug overdoses are now the primary cause of death due to unintentional injury in the U.S., which is exceeding even motor vehicle deaths, according to the data from the N.C. Division of Public Health. More than 1,000 people die from prescription drug overdose each year in the state.

If you have any questions or have medicine you would like to dispose of and can't get to these locations then you can contact the sheriff's department and they will send a deputy to your location to pick up the drugs and dispose of them properly. Just contact the sheriff's department at 641-7911.