LAURINBURG — Every year for the last three years, Nancy Naylor has wanted to take part in Operation Medicine Drop.
But there was always somethings else on the calendar that made her participation impossible.
This past Saturday, she found the time.
“I finally made it,” Naylor said as she unloaded bags brimming with old prescription medications from the back of her car. “I’ve been trying to get here for the last couple of years, but something has always come up. So I was glad to be able to make it today.”
Naylor was among the crowd of Scotland County residents who took advantage of the medicine drop held in the parking lot Health Innovations of Laurinburg.
The free service allows people to safely dispose of the medications, including over-the-counter drugs, prescriptions, samples and pet medications.
The drop began in 2010 through a partnership of the N.C. Department of Insurance and Safe Kids NC, N.C. Department of Justice — Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Department of Justice — Drug Enforcement Agency, N.C. Department of Public Safety — SBI, the Riverkeepers of N.C. and local law enforcement agencies.
Operation Medicine Drop events have retrieved and destroyed approximately 89 million doses of medications at 2,000 events in the last eight years.
The Laurinburg effort collected more than 140 pounds of old prescription medications, according Josh Byrd with the Laurinburg Police Department. Also helping collected the unwanted medications were Dave Salzlein of the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office and Amy Hamilton with Safe Kids Mid-Carolinas.
“It was a great day,” said Byrd, who serves as a local coordinator for the disposal. “Having the medicine drop here make it convenient and increase awareness.”
Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning, with more than 64,000 children going to an emergency room for medicine poisoning each year, according to a study by Safe Kids Worldwide.
“We want to keep medication out of the hands of children,” Hamilton said. “That way we can keep our homes safer.”
Hamilton added that the disposal also help raise awareness about drugs being flushed or thrown in the garbage because they may contaminate water sources.
“Many of our drugs are more high powered, so we need to keep them out of our water system,” she said.
There is also a medication disposal box in the Laurinburg Police Department that people can access all year during office normal hours. The box is just inside the police department at 303 West Church St.
Byrd said Saturday’s collection along with what has been placed in the year-round box total about 312 pounds of medications. He expects to take the medications to the SBI field office in Fayetteville for mass disposal in May.