ENC event allowed residents to drop off unwanted medicine

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Organizations in one Eastern Carolina city teamed up to host a medicine drop-off to help keep people safe.

Pitt County residents came from far and wide to make sure unwanted or expired medication was disposed of properly.

During Tuesday’s “Operation Medicine Drop” at the ECHU Health Wellness Center, Ellen Walston, ECU Health’s Injury Prevention Program Coordinator, said this kind of event helps keep dangerous medicines out of the hands of kids.

“Children are curious; they want to learn the world. Their curious climbers, they will pull a drawer out and step in it to be able to reach whatever they are looking for, so we really want to emphasize safe storage: up, away, and out of sight,” said Walston.

“Operation Medicine Drop” began as a way to ensure the water system was clean, as officials advised against flushing pills.

Bruce White said he dropped unused medicine off because he wasn’t sure what to do with it.

“We’ve accumulated some from a relative that had recently passed away, and we just didn’t want it around; we didn’t want it around the house. We have grandkids around all the time, and this was great for us. We really didn’t know what to do with it,” said White.

Since the pandemic, Walston says people may have some medications they no longer need.

“Since COVID, we have had a rise in mental health concerns, and there may be new prescribing patterns, yet we are here today just to make sure that folks are safely disposing of their medications,” said Walston.

If you have medicine you need to drop off and were not able to make it out on Tuesday, there are some permanent drop-off locations. You can find those at the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office and some local pharmacies.

Tuesday’s event collected 200 pounds of medicine.

Since 2010, the Operation Medicine Drop campaign has incinerated more than 266 million pills collected through the permanent drop boxes and at more than 4,000 events across North Carolina.