'Operation Medicine Drop' Set For This Week

Event offers a safe way to dispose of unused medications 

Duke community members can protect their family members and the environment by disposing of unused or expired medications safely Thursday at locations at Duke University Health System.

The Duke University Police Department is teaming up with other local organizations to host Operation Medicine Drop, which allows community members to bring unused, expired or unwanted prescription, over-the-counter and veterinary drugs for safe disposal.

On Duke's campus, drop sites will be at the following locations; additional sites are available in Durham this Saturday [see sidebar]:

  • Thursday, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.:  Duke University Hospital Lobby
  • Thursday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.: Duke Clinics Building (Hospital South) Lobby
  • Thursday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.: Durham Regional Hospital, Front Circle

Eric Hester, crime prevention officer with the Duke University Police Department, said the medicine drop is a convenient opportunity for community members to dispose of drugs that could cause harm. "We're trying to make sure that the medications don't fall into the hands of children or abusers," he said.

According to Operation Medicine Drop, North Carolina teens abuse prescription drugs more than any other substance except marijuana and alcohol. 

Flushing unwanted painkillers, antibiotics and other drugs down the toilet is not safe because the chemicals can contaminate water supplies.

Pharmacists staffing the drop sites will collect the medications and turn them over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for proper disposal. Medications can be dropped off anonymously.

Operation Medicine Drop is a statewide initiative. Locally, Operation Medicine Drop is sponsored by the Duke University Police Department, Duke Hospital Emergency and Pharmacy Departments, Durham Police Department, Kroger and Rite Aid Pharmacies and Safe Kids Durham County. 

A list of drop off sites in other communities is available on the Operation Medicine Drop website.