JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY - Officers at the Jacksonville Police Department, along with other law enforcement agencies, are making a push to collect old prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines, so they won't end up in the wrong hands.
"It's a huge issue in North Carolina as well as Jacksonville," said Lt. Ronnie Dorn. "That has been one of our growing problems that's very tough to combat."
The Jacksonville Police Department, along with the Onslow County Sheriff's Office and the Swansboro Police Department, will team up for Operation Medicine Drop on Saturday. They will collect old prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines, so they don't end up being sold or abused. Law enforcement agencies from across the state will take part as well.
"It does two things: it prevents them from being flushed down toilets or washed down the drains and contaminating the water system, as well as it prevents the medication from ending up in the wrong hands," Dorn said.
Dorn said the Jacksonville Police Deparment keeps the effort going year-round. JPD was one of the first law enforcement agencies in the state to have a permanent drop box. Officers said they collect nearly 40 pounds of prescription medications each week.
Dorn added that most of these drugs are legally obtained, but problems can start when they're left in the house.
"In the event there was a breaking and entering to their residence, it does present an additional threat as those narcotics will be distributed illegally on the streets or utilized illegally," Dorn said.
Dorn said that North Carolina had more than 900 overdose deaths from prescription medications in 2011. He said those kinds of cases can lead to "a bunch of negativity in the community, such as other types of drug use."
It's up to the citizens to keep these drugs in the right hands, Dorn said. Operation Medicine Drop volunteers will accept prescription/OTC drugs at all Walgreens locations in Onslow County and the Jacksonville Target on Western Boulevard from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
For more information on Operation Medicine Drop, CLICK HERE.