Locations for permanent medications disposal are available in Watauga County. Of the six locations, four are located at local law enforcement offices.
Those locations are ASU Police Department (7 days a week, 24 hours a day), Blowing Rock Police Department (Monday-Friday 8-5pm), Boone Police Department (Monday – Friday 8-5pm) and Watauga County Sheriff's Office (Monday – Friday 8-5pm).
Items that can be disposed of are: prescriptions, cold and flu medications, pain relievers, cough syrups, topical ointments, vitamins, pet medications and other medications.
WataugaOnline.com ask Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford, Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman and ASU Police Chief Andy Stephenson their thoughts and comments about the drop off boxes.
Chief Dana Crawford – “We have had our disposal box for about two years. It is a fantastic way to get rid of unused medications. Over the years we have seen several families victimized simply because they had medications in their homes and didn't know how to dispose of them properly. This is another way that local law enforcement agencies can help stop the abuse and diversion of some very dangerous medications.”
Sheriff Len Hagaman – “The WCSO started OMC “Operation Medicine Cabinet,” well over 10 years ago (cooperative effort with WCSO, Watauga Voices, Riverkeeper, and DEA). The cooperative group developed the media push, and even designed the OMC Logo. The current state programs adopted the “curriculum/model,” mission, focus, and even the logo (modified a bit, but the medicine bottle with a caduceus), of OMC as the now titled “Drug Take Back Day,” in concert with Safe Kids, the NCSBI, and other NC agencies. The main focus was to protect water systems (the river studies had shown increases in estrogen, testosterone, selenium, to name a few). The wastewater treatment process (wastewater treatment plants and septic systems) does not remove these substances from the effluent.
So, the focus of OMC was two-pronged…one to divert pharmaceuticals from BOTH ground and surface water and to also divert controlled prescription pharmaceuticals from the street. At first, no boxes were available, but as OMC grew and Project Lazarus/WSAP (Watauga Substance Abuse Prevention Program) also grew, the Rx drop-off boxes began being placed at the Watauga County Sheriff's Office, Boone Police Department, Blowing Rock Police Department, Appalachian State University Police, respectively. There are now two (2) Rx boxes at 2 Boone Drug locations
The program has been, and continues to be, a fantastic program. BTW, approximately 5 years ago, we collected over 1 million pills, liquids, sharps, and veterinarian medicines. Until a couple of years ago, OMC was conducted at the same time as the Watauga County Sanitation's “Hazardous Materials” collection day. For all those years, three(3) Food Lion locations (Boone, Blowing Rock, and Deep Gap), Appalachian State University Student Union, and the Foscoe Fire Department have graciously hosted OMC.”
Chief Andy Stephenson – “It’s important that we keep these medications out of the ecosystem and away from children. We encourage everyone to properly dispose of unused and/or expired medications.”