ROCKINGHAM — Operation Medicine Drop kicked off Wednesday at G104 FM on Airport Road manned by officers from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and representatives of FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital.
Amy Forester of FirstHealth said about a dozen people had stopped by to drop off unused or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications as part of the twice-yearly initiative.
The purpose of Operation Medicine Drop is to encourage residents to clean out their medicine cabinets in an effort to prevent drugs from being improperly disposed of or finding their way into the wrong hands.
“They’ve had quite a bit of medication with them,” Forester said of those who participated. “We’ve had some that went ahead and dropped it at the Sheriff’s office prior to, and we were able to bring that out and count. We’ve been very happy with the turnout, and G104’s always a great partner.”
Forester said the radio station is well-known and that the location is good for traffic, with plenty of room for driving through or parking.
“They can just pull up,” she added. “We’ve been taking it from them in the car. They don’t have to exit their vehicle, and we’ve been able to work together and count.”
She said the final numbers won’t be available for a few days, but she can tell that compared to past events, more people understand the importance of disposing of their medications.
“We don’t want them to flush, and we don’t want them in our water system,” Forester said. “There’s just a lot more medicines out there now than there used to be. It’s been really good.”
According to Forester, in order to conduct a medicine drop, a location must have a law enforcement partner.
“At this event today, that partner is the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office,” she said. “Tomorrow it’s the Rockingham Police Department. They’re going to have theirs at Medical Center Pharmacy. They have been a long-time partner. In fact, Medical Center is letting us borrow one of their pill counters today. We’re all working together for the same goal.”
That goal, Forester said, is to make Richmond County a safer place for kids and families.
Lt. N.L. Forester of the sheriff’s office said he has participated in all of the county’s medicine drops.
“I believe it’s very effective in keeping drugs away from children,” he said. “And really, in keeping them from being stolen. We have had people break into homes looking for drugs to steal. Or maybe somebody’s niece or nephew or children or grandchildren come over and find some forgotten medicines, and they take them and try to sell them. Or they take them trying to get a high from them.”
Also on site from the sheriff’s office were Det. Brian Ingram, Capt. Mike Burns and Det. Terri Childers.
Thursday’s event will be from noon until 4 p.m. with the Rockingham Police Department at Medical Center Pharmacy.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673.