ROCKINGHAM — Two of Richmond County’s law enforcement agencies collected thousands of pills last week during Operation Medicine Drop.
Deputies with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office sat outside G-104 F.M. on Thursday and collected 50 pounds of medical drugs, according to Detective Maj. Jay Childers.
The bounty was a mixture of prescribed narcotics, over-the-counter drugs as well as solid and liquid non-narcotics, he said.
Sgt. Marcus Ricks of the Rockingham Police Department spent his Saturday stationed at Medical Center Pharmacy counting the unused or outdated medications dropped off by residents.
According to Detective George Gillenwater, the department collected 6,957 pills: 4.124 prescription; 174 controlled substances; 1,760 over-the-counter meds and 900 unknown.
Police Chief Billy Kelly said his department has participated in the program since before he took the reins six years ago.
The program is “a partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina, the Riverkeepers of North Carolina, N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of North Carolina and local law enforcement agencies working together to encourage the public to safely dispose of unused, unwanted and expired medication, according to the N.C. Department of Insurance.
Agents from the SBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency collected more than 500 pounds of meds Monday outside a Harris Teeter in Charlotte, according to a Facebook post.
Aside from the annual collections, the RPD, RCSO and Hamlet Police Department each have drop boxes at their respective stations.
“We believe it’s a good program,” Kelly said. “It helps keep unneeded medicines from being taken from homes, from being sold on the streets” and from being flushed down toilets.
It also keeps kids from taking meds not realizing the consequences.
“That’s something that could kill them,” he said.
The SBI posted on Tuesday that nearly 15 tons of discarded medicines were collected and taken in three box trucks to an incinerator for destruction.