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Get rid of unwanted medications Saturday

KANNAPOLIS ó The Kannapolis Police Department will dispose of old and unneeded medications at an Operation Medicine Drop event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Kannapolis Train Station, 201 S. Main St.
Officers will be on hand to accept the medication and ensure it is properly disposed of, and a pharmacist will answer questions concerning medication.
Operation Medicine Drop is a statewide initiative to provide a safe way to dispose of prescription or over-the-counter medications.
Members of the public are invited to take-back events being staged across the state to drop off medications. Law enforcement partners will help dispose of the medications in the same secure way they dispose of other drug items.
The initiative is a partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina, the N.C. Department of Insurance, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the State Bureau of Investigation and other local agencies throughout the state.
When excess medications are kept around the home, they create dangerous opportunities for prescription drug abuse or accidental poisonings, a press release from the city said.
Poisonings from prescription medications have increased in recent years in North Carolina.
While most parents and caregivers are familiar with poisoning hazards presented by cleaning supplies, the N.C. Division of Public Health reports that since 1999, more than 75 percent of all unintentional poisonings were caused by prescription or over-the-counter medications.
The best way to prevent poisoning is to remove the risk from the environment, the city press release said.
In 2010, its first year, Operation Medicine Drop retrieved and destroyed more than 2 million dosages of medications at nearly 200 take-back events across North Carolina.
Here are statistics provided by Operation Medicine Drop:
The average North Carolinian fills 14 prescriptions annually, which adds up to over 127 million prescriptions filled statewide each year. Studies show that as much as 40 percent of the drugs dispensed are never used.
Since 1999, about 4,500 in North Carolina have died from prescription drug poisoning.
More than 75 percent of all unintentional poisonings involve over-the-counter and prescription medications.
About 40 percent of injuries from unintentional poisonings occur in children younger than 5.
One in five teens has abused prescription stimulants and tranquilizers.
In 2004, the United States Geological Survey identified 100 different pharmaceuticals in surface water.
Significant contamination is occurring in North Carolina and in over 80 percent of U.S. waterways that have been tested.
For more information about Operation Medicine Drop, visit www.ncsafekids. org or call 888-347-3737.

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