Permanent Collection Sites Aiding Medicine Drop-Off
Despite a decreased number of drop-off locations that were open fewer hours, the number of doses of pills collected during Operation Medicine Drop continues to rise.
Local law enforcement officials are crediting permanent drop boxes at several police departments in the county and improved public awareness of the dangers of prescription medications with the increase.
Authorities collected 288,686 doses of medication that filled 33 boxes and weighed 482 pounds.
"A majority is coming from the permanent drop boxes," said Capt. Jerrell Seawell, of the Moore County Sheriff's Office.
Operation Medicine Drop is a statewide event designed to safely collect and dispose of unused, unwanted or expired medications.
Pills are collected, documented and catalogued by law enforcement officers. They are then turned over to the State Bureau of Investigations to be destroyed.
The collection events are now held twice a year in Moore County.
The permanent drop boxes are located at the Moore County Sheriff's Office in Carthage and the police departments in Aberdeen and Pinehurst. Residents can drop off all medications except liquids and syringes 24 hours a day at the boxes in Pinehurst and Carthage, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Aberdeen.
The box outside the Sheriff's Office, made possible by a grant through Drug Free Moore County, was the first of its kind in the county. It was installed in March 2011. The other boxes were added later that year.
The boxes were installed to fight what Seawell has called a "pill problem" in Moore County.
Aberdeen Deputy Police Chief Jim Foster said his department's drop box is used by residents every day.
The boxes allow residents to get rid of pills in a more timely manner and in a more environmentally safe way.
"Sometimes people just flush their medications down the toilet, and then that medication gets into the water supply," Foster said.
Foster said he also sees the drop boxes as a complement to Operation Medicine Drop.
"We do so well during the medicine drops because they will take anything from morphine to Geritol there," he said.
Despite the increased effectiveness of the drop boxes, Foster said Operation Medicine Drops are very valuable.
"People see the events advertised, and that is a successful reminder for them to do something that they know they should do but sometimes they don't think about," he said.
Operation Medicine Drop is traditionally held twice a year, in the spring and fall. The next Operation Medicine Drop has not been set, but it likely will be sometime in March.
Since 2010, Moore County has participated in seven drop-off events and collected more than 910,000 doses. The number of doses collected has increased at each event.
The Moore County Sheriff's Office partners with other local police agencies, in conjunction with Drug Free Moore County and the Moore Drug Prevention Task Force, to host the drop-off locations.
Seawell said that with the success of drop boxes in Moore County and other areas, there could be tweaks to Operation Medicine Drop in the future.
"Things may change in the future," Seawell said, "but we are still going to participate in Operation Medicine Drop and provide that service for our citizens."
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 964-9535 or tembrey@ thepilot.com.
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