Figures were released this week detailing the cumulative totals for prescription drug disposal programs in Stokes County since November 2010.
Overall, 148,168 doses have been collected at Operation Medicine Drop events and 74,688.5 doses at permanent drop-off sites, for a total of 222,856.5 doses.
The numbers indicate positive steps are being taken in the county to promote safer and healthier communities through the proper disposal of prescription drugs, the most abused substances in the county according to many law enforcement officials.
Collaboration by Stokes County EMS, King Police Department, Walnut Cove Police Department, Stokes County Sheriff’s Office and Unlimited Success / Partnership for a Drug Free NC have made access to safe medicine disposal much easier for citizens, especially thanks to the tireless work of local advocates such as Brian Booe with Stokes EMS and Wanda Roberson with Unlimited Success. Now residents need to take advantage of the opportunities available to them.
Operation Medicine Drop is an effort coordinated by North Carolina Department of Insurance, Safe Kids North Carolina, the State Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement agency and local groups to prevent accidental poisonings and substance abuse and to protect our waters. Operation Medicine Drop events to collect prescriptions are held a few times a year in Stokes County.
But people do not have to wait for special events. A permanent drop-off box for unused and expired prescription medications was set up last May at the Stokes County Sheriff’s Office in Danbury. Drop-offs were then added in July to the Walnut Cove and King police departments. Collection of near 75,000 doses in less than a year of service is a promising sign for the permanent drop-off program.
It is important for people to properly dispose of their medications. Many people try to flush the drugs down the toilet or sink, but they can get into the water system. Through drop-offs at the secure boxes, law enforcement agencies can ensure that medicines are disposed of safely.
Prescription drug abuse is a big problem in Stokes County according to EMS and law enforcement personnel, and it often leads to overdoses. Residents can help limit the number of unused pills open to theft or abuse by making a quick stop to a local police or sheriff’s department during regular business hours to drop off prescription and over-the-counter pills. Citizens should strive to be part of the solution.
Utilize the service. A program is only as good as its participation.