The State Bureau of Investigation reported that nearly 7.4 million doses of expired or unused medicine pills were collected across the state during Operation Medicine Drop Sept. 27.
The pills and medications are being destroyed at an Environmental Protection Agency-approved incinerator.
The State Bureau of Investigation co-sponsored the pill take-back event along with Safe Kids North Carolina, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and state and local law enforcement agencies.
In addition to providing drop-off locations at its eight troop locations, the State Highway Patrol provided vehicles to transport the medication. The DEA paid to have the medications destroyed.
This year, Cary Police Department lead the state with approximately 947,000 dosage units collected, topping Durham’s collection last year of 773,500 dosage units.
Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning, according to Safe Kids, a non-profit organization that helps parents and caregivers prevent childhood injuries. Environmental experts say that flushing medicines down the toilet contaminates water supplies and hurts aquatic life.
According to DEA, medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse, and a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.