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Originally published: 2013-05-02 14:04:54
Last modified: 2013-05-02 14:04:54

Our View: Operating for common good

Keeping more than 1 million prescription pills from the hands of children, teens and others for whom they were not originally intended is easier than you think.

In the end, all we had to do was ask.

In four years, Operation Medicine Cabinet has collected 1,002,794 unwanted prescription pills in the High Country alone. That total puts our region near the best in the state and, broken down per capita, means we outperform cities such as Raleigh, Charlotte and Asheville in collecting unneeded prescription pills, over-the-counter medications and syringes.

But more importantly, that total means that more than 1 million pills won't be found on our streets or in our ground water -- thereby helping to stifle two alarming trends: the growing abuse of  prescription drugs by teens and the pollution of our water system by toxic drugs and medications.

Twice each year, our county's sheriff's office, recycling coordinator, county extension and riverkeeper partner with several business locations throughout the county to accept outdated or unused prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and syringes. In May and October, Operation Medicine Cabinet hosts a one-day, no-questions-asked, take-back event.

This spring, the momentum continues with a take-back event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Foscoe Fire Department and the three Food Lion stores, in Boone, Deep Gap and Blowing Rock. 

For those four hours, amnesty is given for anyone who turns in medications. Officials don't want your information, they simply want to keep your unneeded pills, medicines and syringes from those who would abuse them.