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Go Ask Mom

Groups collecting unused medications this week

Posted September 26, 2012 12:08 p.m. EDT
Updated September 28, 2012 12:09 p.m. EDT

There are a lot of reasons to get rid of unused and unwanted medications around the house.

For families with kids, here's the main one: Unintentional poisoning killed 824 U.S. children in 2009 and 90 percent of them were teenagers, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 128,000 children visited emergency departments for poisoning-related injuries in 2010; half of them were teens.

Prescription drug abuse in teens is now at epidemic proportions with more than 7 percent of kids ages 12 to 17 reporting that they have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. In that age group, the prescription drug death rate has more than doubled from 1998 to 2008, the CDC says.

There are several opportunities this week to safely get rid of unused and unwanted medications, which also can contribute to contamination of waterways when they are flushed down the toilet, for instance.

So search through those medicine cabinets (and tell Grandma and Grandpa to do the same). Here's where you can drop it all off:

Safe Kids of Durham, along with local law enforcement, area businesses and the Drug Enforcement Administration are hosting Operation Medicine Drop starting this Thursday. Both prescription medication and illegal narcotics will be accepted (no questions asked)

“We want to provide the public a safe means of disposing unused and unwanted medications as well as illegal narcotics. No questions will be asked. By doing this, we can prevent accidental poisonings and drug abuse while protecting our waterways,” said Theresa Cromling, Safe Kids Durham County Coordinator, in a press release. According to Safe Kids, North Carolina’s death rate from unintentional poisoning is higher than the national average and is the second leading cause of injury in the state, the release said.

Safe Kids organizers also will be at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday,  to talk with parents about the hazards of prescription drugs. Duke University toxicologist Bryan Clark will create a simulated version of a waste water treatment facility and demonstrate how fish respond to toxins.

Here are the locations:


  • Duke University Hospital North Lobby 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Duke University Hospital South Lobby 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Durham Regional Hospital 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

10 a.m. to 2 p..m, Saturday

  • Kroger, 202 W Hwy 54, Durham
  • Kroger, 3457 Hillsborough Rd, Durham
  • Central Pharmacy, 2609 N. Duke St., Durham
  • Rite Aid, 3725 Hwy 98, Durham
  • Museum of Life and Science, 433 W. Murray Ave, Durham
  • Triangle Pharmacy, 1700 E Hwy 54, Durham

Rex Healthcare also will have an Operation Medicine Drop in conjunction with Safe Kids North Carolina and the Cary Police Department. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, at Rex Healthcare of Cary at the Wellness Center entrance, 1515 SW Cary Parkway.

There will be an easy drive-thru drop-off to help people quickly discard unused, unwanted and expired medications. Anyone dropping off medication should leave it in the original bottle if possible. All donations will be collected by licensed pharmacists and properly disposed of courtesy of the Cary Police Department.

Rex held a similar event earlier this year and collected more than 50,000 dosage units of unwanted and expired medications.

Also collecting unwanted medications in Cary from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday:

  • Cary Senior Center, 120 Maury Odell Place
  • Christ the King Lutheran Church, 600 Walnut Street
  • Town of Cary Fire Station #3, 1807 Kildaire Farm Road
  • Town of Cary Fire Station #7, 6900 Carpenter Fire Station Road

And in Garner, a Medication Take-Back Event will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, at Garner Town Hall, 900 Seventh Ave. Garner Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration will be collecting expired, unused and unwanted drugs.