Environment
7:48 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Preventing Medicines From Ending Up in NC Waterways

The Yadkin Riverkeeper is partnering with some Triad police departments to help residents properly dispose of their unwanted medications.

Most of the Operation Medicine Drop Off events will take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Credit Yadkin Riverkeper

Operation Medicine Drop is a collaborative effort between several agencies, including law enforcement, substance abuse prevention, and environmental organizations.

Last fall, the program collected over 1,000 pounds of medicine in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Area. Several medicine drop off sites will take place across the state over the next several weeks, including one Monday, March 18, at the Clemmons Fire Department in Forsyth County.

Kent Lupton, with The Yadkin Riverkeeper, is managing the program. He says too many people improperly dispose of unwanted and expired prescriptions.

“These medicines are not treated by water treatment plants, so the extra medicine if it is disposed of by the old way of flushing and ends up in our waterways and it ends up in our drinking water because it is not treated properly. A lot of fish are showing intersect parts and also frogs are showing developmental issues where they still have the tadpole tail,” says Lupton.

Lupton says the program also helps protect children and keeps drugs off of the streets.

He says forty percent of prescribed drugs go unused and are improperly stored in homes. Unintentional poisonings are the second leading cause of accidental death in North Carolina.

Another operation medicine drop will take place in Winston-Salem on Wednesday as part of Forsyth County’s Creek Week. Lupton says people can drop off their meds with no questions asked.

“A lot of the law enforcement agencies hold the drops from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Anyone who has medicine can take them in and hand it to a police officer. The police will catalog it and figure out how much they got. Anything that has identifying information and the medicines will be incinerated,” says Lufton.

Operation Medicine Drop will also take place in Surry and Davidson Counties this month.