Operation Medicine Drop


  • When a legal prescription is utilized by someone other than prescribed for or obtained through false means, it becomes an illegal substance. 
  • The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation reports that Pitt County pharmacies dispense over 250,000 prescriptions for controlled substances on an annual basis. That is a lot of medicine that can fall into the wrong hands!
  • The abuse of prescription medicine has unfortunately become a national crisis with its illegal usage surpassing marijuana use as the most widely used illegal substance.
  • Treatment admissions for such abuse, have skyrocketed from the mid 1990’s over 300% according to most research.
  •  National studies indicate approximately 50% of youth 12 years and older obtained pain relievers from friends or relatives.

    Proper disposal is something to consider. Simply throwing medicines in the trash or flushing them down the toilet does not end the risk these medicines pose. Both animals and people have been known for rummaging through trash and studies have shown that flushing medicines through the toilet have an environmental impact. In areas of high population density, fish living in the natural water system have exhibited signs of unisex characteristics that researchers attribute to the human excretions, primarily from reproductive medicines. 

    Flushing  ONLY if the directions on the bottle state flushing is acceptable. 

    Trash       If flushing is not mentioned as an acceptable disposal method, you should mix the pills with an undesirable substance (such as kitty litter, used coffee grounds, saw dust) and place the mixture into a disposable sealable container or bag before placing in the trash. Ensure you remove any personal information from the bottle itself, especially if refills remain. 

    Take Back Events  In an effort to provide a safe disposal method for citizens, the Sheriff’s Office has been partnering with community organizations to conduct events that allow citizens to ‘drop-off’ their unused and unwanted medications. On average, thousands of pills are collected at each event. The oldest prescription we have received dated back to the 1960’s and was in a glass bottle. 

    Permanent Drop-off Box      There is also a drop-off box located in the Sheriff’s Office courthouse lobby location where citizens can drop off quickly and anonymously. The address is 100 West Third Street, Greenville NC. We treat disposed items as evidence and transport them to an incineration facility.

    Additional Resources 




    To find out about upcoming Operation Medicine Drop Events, check our Event Calendar or the North Carolina Safe Kids website. 

    icon-contact Questions about the issue or events? Contact Melissia Larson: 252-902-2656 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 

    LAW ENFORCEMENT interested in the Permanent Disposal Box Program, please contact the person listed above for more information.

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