Unused medications and expired drugs from around North Carolina will be taken by State Bureau of Investigation agents to an undisclosed incinerator Wednesday in a twice-yearly event designed to highlight the state’s no-questions-asked drug return program.
The drugs have been collected from 254 drop boxes around the state, including police stations, sheriffs’ offices, fire stations, pharmacies and local public health departments. They were subsequently taken to eight SBI field offices, and will be delivered Wednesday to the SBI’s office in Raleigh, their final layover before incineration.
The purpose of the Operation Medicine Drop program is to keep surplus medicines away from children, out of the hands of adults with addictions, and out of local water supplies, which is where they end up if they are flushed down the drain or down the toilet.
Since it was established in 2010, the program has collected and disposed of more than 89 million pills. Unused and expired drugs have caused 91 percent of unintentional poisonings since 1991 in North Carolina.
Operation Medicine Drop is a partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina (within the N.C. Department of Insurance), SBI, Riverkeepers Alliance and other local agencies.
Transporting opioids and controlled substances in bulk quantities for disposal does not require a police permit, said John Keane, the SBI’s Special Agent in Charge in the agency’s Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit. But Keane said he would advise keeping the pills in the original labeled prescription bottles, in case the driver is pulled over by a police offier and asked questions about the drugs.
Wake County alone has 15 dropoff boxes for unwanted medications.
Here is where to find the drop boxes in Wake County. Boxes are accessible 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
▪ Apex Police Department, 205 Saunders St., Apex
▪ Garner Police Department, 900 Seventh Ave., Garner
▪ Cary Police Department, 120 Wilkinson Ave., Cary
▪ Holly Springs Police Department, 110 W. Balentine St., Holly Springs. Accessible 24 hours daily.
▪ Rolesville Police Department, 204 Southtown Circle, Rolesville
▪ SAS Company Police, 100 SAS Campus Drive, Cary
▪ Wake County Human Services, First Floor, 10 Sunnybrook Road, Raleigh. 8:30-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8:30-4 p.m. Saturday.
▪ Wake County Law Enforcement Training Center, 2300 Law Enforcement Drive, Raleigh
▪ Wake County Sheriff's Department (Lobby), 330 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh
▪ Wake Forest Police Substation, 221 S. Brooks St., Wake Forest
▪ Zebulon Police Department, 1001 N Arendell Ave., Zebulon. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.