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Operation Medicine Cabinet Oct. 27

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Article Published: Oct. 24, 2012 | Modified: Oct. 28, 2012
Operation Medicine Cabinet Oct. 27

Operation Medicine Cabinet volunteer Joan Hearn, left, accepts a medicine bottle from a Watauga County resident during the drug take-back event in May.
File photo

Do you have outdated or unused prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, syringes or other medical supplies?

Come drop them off at sponsored take-back centers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Take-back locations will be available at the Foscoe Fire Department, Beaver Dam Fire Department and the three Food Lion stores in Watauga County: the U.S. 321 store in Boone, the U.S. 421 Deep Gap store and the Blowing Rock store.

It is an amnesty day, so no questions will be asked.

Three years ago, on Oct. 3, 2009, a broad coalition of community partners came together to create the first prescription drug take-back day in the High Country. Since that first event two years ago, a total of six “Operation Medicine Cabinet” events have been held every May and October as part of the Watauga County household hazardous waste day.

According to event organizers, the High Country has collected a total of 907,063 pills since 2009, making the local effort the best in the state, outperforming Raleigh, Charlotte and Asheville. In fact, the local effort was recognized as a model program and adopted by other community groups across North Carolina. In order to maintain this status, 93,000 pills will need to be collected Saturday.

“From a law enforcement perspective, one of our most important jobs is to work diligently and proactively to prevent drug abuse,” said Watauga County Sheriff Len D. Hagaman. “By hosting an amnesty day that allows the public to turn in any kind of unused or unwanted medications, hopefully, we will keep those drugs off the street and out of the hands of children.”

Operation Medicine Cabinet also has an environmental impact.

“A recent investigation by The Associated Press found a whole host of pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, pain medication, antidepressants, sex hormones, heart and blood pressure medicine — in the drinking water supplies of more than 40 million Americans,” Watauga Riverkeeper Donna Lisenby said.

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