Rowan Sheriff’s Office disposes of 300 pounds of leftover medication from area schools

Published 12:02 am Friday, June 19, 2015

By Shavonne Walker

At the end of each school year, teachers clean their classrooms and students clear out their cubbies and lockers.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office has a clean-up job at the end of the academic year, too — collecting medication left at area schools.

Chief Deputy David Ramsey with Sheriff’s Office spent Thursday morning filling a metal drum with about 300 pounds of allergy pills, Epi-Pens, Adderall, cough medicine, inhalers and other forgotten medications collected from schools throughout the county.

It happens at the end of every school year, Ramsey said. Schools are left with medications that students didn’t finish taking and parents forgot to retrieve.

The schools can’t hold onto the forgotten medications, he said. They have to be properly disposed of, and that’s where the Sheriff’s Office comes into the picture.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office has a DEA license that allows the agency to dispose of the pills, bottles, liquids, breathing treatments and other items through its Operation Medicine Drop program. Many of the medications are simply allergy pills, but much of what is collected is considered a controlled substance, including low-dose hydrocodone.

Ramsey said employees at each school go through their respective storage spaces to box or bag the items and send them to the Sheriff’s Office. It’s a laborious job, but it has to be done, he said.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.