There is no doubt that the abuse of prescription drugs is overlooked because it is not as commonly reported as other drugs such as marijuana. Prescription drugs account for the majority of drug overdoses on college campuses and are the second most abused drugs by children ages 12-17.
In an attempt to decrease the abuse of prescription drugs, the organization, Safe Kids North Carolina, has established Operation Medicine Drop that took place at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 16 in the University Center of WCU. The increase of drug related incidents encouraged WCU to participate in the medicine drop.
The goal of the medicine drop is to set up easily accessible sites to allow people to empty out their medicine cabinets and bring unused pills to police officers who will properly dispose of the medicine. Children often scamper into their household’s medicine cabinet and take pills without knowing what they are, which results in the accidental injuries of children.
The program launched the medicine drop alongside law enforcement agencies, State Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration to sponsor state-wide drug take-backs.
Safe Kids North Carolina is working with the North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper, to set up disposal locations throughout the state.
According to Robbie Carter, WCU’s police officer who was in charge of the campus’ station, he was contacted by Cooper and asked to hold an event at WCU. Carter confirmed that this was the first time any event of this sort has been held on campus. He was apprehensive about the success of the event because WCU’s biggest drug problem is with marijuana; he was adamant in agreeing that even though prescription drug abuse is not reported, it does occur. “Since 1999, more than 75 percent of all unintentional poisonings were caused by prescription or over-the-counter medicines,” said Carter.
Carter worked with the Jackson County Sherriff’s office to set up and run the event on campus. The event started in the early in morning and continued throughout the day. Various members of the community stopped by on their lunch breaks to dispose of pills they had left over from previous prescriptions.
Those who attended felt it was a good way to know that harmful substances would no longer be available to addicts or children. Types of pills received ranged from old antibiotics, to pain pills once used to treat minor injuries.
The Medicine Drop is only one of many programs that Safe Kids of North Carolina sponsors. Safe Kids of North Carolina is one of more than 450 organizations affiliated with Safe Kids Worldwide.
The mission of Safe Kids is to reduce and prevent accidental childhood injuries birth through age 14. They work to educate the public about child safety methods in areas from bike safety to playground tips, and even cover hazardous things to look for in toys. If you are interesting in knowing more, visit their website at www.ncsafekids.org, which offers statistics and tips to the public about child related injuries and methods of prevention.