Operation Medicine Drop Called Success
After another successful “Operation Medicine Drop,” two more law-enforcement agencies are hoping they have a winning prescription for destroying unwanted medications.
The Pinehurst and Aberdeen police departments have recently installed drop boxes where residents can turn in unwanted medications. The boxes were funded through the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. The boxes were purchased with money collected from drug forfeitures.
Aberdeen installed its collection box several weeks ago, and Pinehurst put its in on Friday.
“It is definitely making a difference,” said Jim Foster, Aberdeen deputy police chief.
Pinehurst Captain Floyd Thomas said prescription pill abuse and crime associated with it isn’t as prevalent in Pinehurst, but he is hopeful the collection box will still be utilized.
“We have more of a senior population,” he said, “so we want to give them an opportunity to get rid of it, so those pills are not left in their home and then inadvertently or purposely taken.”
Residents can drop off the pills from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Aberdeen Police Department and 24 hours a day in Pinehurst.
Officers are asking residents not to drop liquids or sharp objects, like needles, into the new drop box.
Detective Jerry Aponte of the Moore County Sheriff’s Office said he hopes the two new pill collection bins will encourage residents to get rid of unwanted medications on a more regular basis.
“The boxes will give those people in that part of the county a little more access to a way to properly dispose of medications,” he said.
Aponte said he is hopeful that other law-enforcement agencies will also get drop boxes.
From Oct. 24 to 29, the Moore County law-enforcement agencies, Drug Free Moore County and the Moore County Drug Prevention Task Force partnered with Safe Kids Mid-Carolinas Region and the DEA to host Operation Medicine Drop.
Aponte said nearly 200,000 pills or dosage units were collected during the operation.
In March, according to Aponte, a medicine drop collected another 106,365 dosage units. Last year, medicine drops in March and September collected 127,523 pills.
Officers from the Moore County Sheriff’s Office have said the problem of prescription drug abuse has increased in Moore County since 2009. From 2003 to 2008, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office seized an average of 1,671 prescription pills.
In 2009, that number jumped to about 5,000, and last year officers seized 10,134 pills.
To combat the problem, law-enforcement agencies are working closely with health care professionals and nonprofit organizations like Drug Free Moore County Coalition and the Moore County Drug Prevention Task Force and others to raise awareness of the issues surrounding prescription pills.
The task force, along with Drug Free Moore County, was instrumental in obtaining grant money to purchase a permanent collection bin for prescription medications, which is located outside the Sheriff’s Office in Carthage.
Now with three locations within the county to drop off unwanted prescription pills, law-enforcement officers are hopeful residents will take advantage of the extra drop-off locations.
“I think more people are getting into how they should properly dispose of medications,” said Thomas. “We hope that by getting information out there, the light bulb will go off for our residents and they will bring those medications to a proper disposal location.”
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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