Operation Medicine Drop aims to fight opioid epidemic by preventing poisonings

Published 8:00 am Friday, October 26, 2018

Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids NC Chairman Mike Causey encourages North Carolinians to safely dispose of unused or expired medications at one of more than 70 Operation Medicine Drop events around the state on Saturday.

“Operation Medicine Drop saves lives,” Causey said. “Poisonings and deaths occur when medicines and prescription drugs end up in the wrong hands. Medications should always be locked out of reach of children, and when medicines are no longer needed, they should be disposed of in a safe way.” 

Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning, with more than 67,000 children — one child every eight minutes — going to an emergency room for medicine poisoning each year, according to a study by Safe Kids Worldwide.

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Operation Medicine Drop is a partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina (within the state department of insurance), State Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, state department of justice and local law enforcement agencies. 

A complete list of Operation Medicine Drop take back events on Saturday can be found at the Safe Kids NC website, ncdoi.com/OSFM/SafeKids. 

Since 2010, Operation Medicine Drop campaigns have successfully achieved the following:

• Collected over 130 million pills

• Supported over 3,300 events

• Houses more than 250 drop boxes

The opioid epidemic is a state and national crisis with an average of four North Carolinians who die per day from an opioid overdose. Forty-eight percent of those deaths involve prescription opioids. 

To help prevent poisonings when taking care of children, parents/guardians can follow these tips:

• Store and lock all medicines and household cleaning products in cabinets out of the reach and sight of children. 

• Keep children in sight at all times, even when answering the door or telephone. Never leave young children alone.

• Do not leave poisons on a counter or in an unlocked cabinet.  

• Never carry something that can be poisonous, such as a medicine, in a purse where children may find it. 

• Place safety latches on drawers or cabinets, and child-resistant caps on bottles, to keep poisons out of the hands of children.

• Clean out medicine cabinets of all unused and expired medications, and bring them to an Operation Medicine Drop event or permanent drop box for proper disposal.

More information about Operation Medicine Drop, including a list of permanent drop-off locations, can be found on the North Carolina Department of Insurance website.

– Submitted article