North Carolina’s Operation Medicine Drop: Results From One of the Nation’s Largest Drug Disposal Programs
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North Carolina’s Operation Medicine Drop: Results From One of the Nation’s Largest Drug Disposal Programs
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  • Alternative Title:
    N C Med J
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    INTRODUCTION In 2013, a total of 1,085 North Carolina residents died due to unintentional poisoning; 91% of these deaths were attributed to medications or drugs (over-the-counter, prescription, or illicit). Proper disposal of unused, unneeded, and/or expired medications is an essential part of preventing these unintentional deaths, as well as averting the other adverse consequences of these drugs on the environment and population health. METHODS Operation Medicine Drop is a medication take-back program coordinated by Safe Kids North Carolina, a county-level, coalition-based injury prevention organization. The Operation Medicine Drop program and event registration system were used to review and validate the number of events, the counties where the events were held, and the number of unit doses (pills) collected from March 2010 to June 2014. SAS version 9.4 was used to generate basic counts and frequencies of events and doses, and ArcGIS version 10.0 was used to create the map. RESULTS From March 2010 to June 2014, Operation Medicine Drop held 1,395 events with 245 different participating law enforcement agencies in 91 counties in North Carolina, and it collected 69.6 million unit doses of medication. More than 60 local Safe Kids North Carolina community coalitions had participated as of June 2014. Every year, Operation Medicine Drop has witnessed increases in events, participating agencies, participating counties, and the number of doses collected. CONCLUSION Operation Medicine Drop is an excellent example of a successful and ongoing collaboration to improve public health. Medication take-back programs may play an important role in preventing future overdose deaths in North Carolina.
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