Dangerous Opioids Among The Thousands Of Pounds Of Prescription Pills Destroyed

Last Updated on April 22, 2019 8:10 am

Raleigh, NC  – The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) delivered 19,515 pounds of unused prescription medications to a state-approved incinerator on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, where the pills were destroyed.  That translates into approximately 14,636,250 dosage units.  The medications were collected during the spring phase of Operation Medicine Drop (OMD) which is held twice a year, during the spring and fall. 

OMD is a partnership between Safe Kids North Carolina, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the North Carolina Department of Justice, the North Carolina Department of Insurance, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s Office and local law enforcement agencies.  There are more than 250 drop boxes set up in pharmacies, hospitals and clinics across the state.  Since 2010, OMD has collected nearly 106 million prescription pills. 

“Our goal is to keep medications, including opioids, out of the wrong hands and save lives,” said John Keane, Special Agent in Charge of the SBI’s Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit.  “We’re able to make this kind of impact because of the community, residents who take the time to properly dispose of old or unused medications,” added Keane.

Please see below for the amount of medications that have been collected and destroyed since 2013.  These numbers reflect spring and fall OMD events.

  • 2013 – 20,176 lbs.
  • 2014 –  9,932 lbs.
  • 2015 – 26,238 lbs.
  • 2016 – 41,385 lbs.
  • 2017 – 48,354 lbs.
  • 2018 – 62,239 lbs.

The next coordinated Operation Medicine Drop event will take place in the fall.  To learn more about what North Carolina is doing to address the opioid epidemic and to find an OMD drop box, go to

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