Drop Off Unused, Unwanted Medicines

Safely dispose of medication on campus on March 22

Duke community members can safely dispose of unused and expired medications at three sites at Duke on Friday, March 22.

The Duke University Police Department is joining with local safety and environmental organizations to host Operation Medicine Drop. The annual event collects unneeded drugs to help prevent accidental poisonings and drug abuse and to protect the environment from improper disposal of medications.

On March 22, Operation Medicine Drop will host drop sites at the following locations:

  • Duke University Hospital Lobby, 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Duke Clinics Building (Hospital South) Lobby, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Durham Regional Hospital, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Drop sites will accept prescription, over-the-counter and veterinary drugs. Pharmacists staffing the drop sites will collect the medications and give them to the Drug Enforcement Administration for proper disposal. Drugs can be dropped off anonymously.

According to Operation Medicine Drop, nearly 65 percent of teenagers admit to stealing drugs from the family medicine cabinet. Eric Hester, crime prevention officer with the Duke University Police Department, said programs such as Operation Medicine Drop help the community by reducing the opportunity for prescription drug abuse and crimes often associated with drug abuse. The program also helps protect the environment.

"You'd be surprised how many people understand the need to keep drugs out of the hands of people who might abuse them, but don't realize that flushing medicines down the toilet or putting them in the trash can actually contaminate our water supplies," he said.

Operation Medicine Drop is a statewide initiative. Locally, the program is sponsored by Duke and Durham Regional Hospitals and their pharmacies, local law enforcement, the Museum of Life and Science and Safe Kids Durham County.