Over 30000 pounds of medication collected during Operation Medicine Drop


RALEIGH – The State Bureau of Investigation delivered 32,247 pounds of unused prescription medications to a state-approved incinerator on Wednesday, May 2 to be destroyed. This final step in Operation Medicine Drop, is the culmination of many collection events that have occurred statewide aiming to keep addictive pills away from children, teens and addicts and protects waterways from contamination.

For the past several months, thousands of people across the state have removed dangerous medications from their homes and taken the prescription pills to designated safe locations such as drug stores or law enforcement centers.

“This spring cleaning effort greatly improves the quality of life in North Carolina,” said John Keane, special agent in charge of the SBI’s Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit. “Every effort made to remove addictive drugs from medicine cabinets helps protect the lives of innocent children, curious teens, and even some drug addicts. That makes this effort incredibly worthwhile.”

The number of pills incinerated equals approximately 24.2 million dosage units.

Once people have taken their unused, unwanted or expired medications to a designated collection spot, local law enforcement agencies take the pills to one of eight SBI field offices. SBI agents then deliver the pills to a central location in Raleigh to be loaded onto trucks and taken to a state-approved incinerator.

“The old way of flushing pills down a toilet is a bad idea,” Keane said. “Those pharmaceuticals become potent chemicals in our waterways which hurts fish and other aquatic life. Operation Medicine Drop is the safest way to have medicines destroyed.”

Keane added the next coordinated effort of unused, unwanted and expired drugs will take place in the fall.

Operation Medicine Drop is a joint effort among local law enforcement agencies, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, the N.C. Dept. of Justice and the Dept. of Insurance in partnership with Safe Kids of North Carolina.

The number of pounds collected and destroyed since 2013:

Operation Medicine Drop is held twice a year, spring and fall.



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