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Permanent Medication Drop-Box Now Available At Cleveland County Health Department
7,150 dosage units of prescription medication collected in first two weeks 

U.S. deaths from prescription opioid painkillers have increased five-fold since 1990, reaching epidemic levels.  In 2008, more than 36,000 people died from opioid drug overdoses.  Not unlike our nation, prescription drug overdoses are becoming an increasingly alarming trend in North Carolina and even Cleveland County.
The death rate for unintentional overdose poisonings in North Carolina in 2009 was 11 per 100,000, exceeding national rates.  In 2010, when comparing all 100 counties in North Carolina, Cleveland County had the 18th highest unintentional poisoning mortality rate, with a rate of 20.4 per 100,000.  In response, a broad coalition of local stakeholders has come together to form the Taskforce on Overdose Prevention to address the challenge of prescription drug misuse, abuse and overdose in Cleveland County. 
The work of the taskforce is rooted in four key messages concerning prescription medications:
1. Take correctly.
2. Store securely.
3. Dispose properly.
4. Never share.
One of the strategies the taskforce is focusing on to help ensure individuals are able to dispose of their medications properly is the establishment of more permanent medication drop-box locations throughout the county.  The taskforce is proud to announce that a new permanent drop-box is now available at the Cleveland County Health Department located at 315 E Grover Street, Shelby.  It is conveniently located inside the health department’s front desk reception area and is open to the public.  Anyone may visit the health department Monday-Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm to drop off unused or expired medications with no questions asked.  The DEA approved drop-box is secure and may only be accessed by the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office Drug Diversion Investigator who is responsible for collection and proper disposal of all collected medications.
In the first two weeks following installation of this drop-box, it collected 7,150 dosage units of prescription medication.  Why is the proper disposal of medication so important?   Flushing prescription and over-the-counter drugs down the toilet or pouring them down the sink is dangerous for humans, animals, and the environment.  Flushed drugs aren’t removed in sewage treatment plants or septic tank systems—they enter the soil, rivers, streams, and groundwater.  Furthermore, keeping unused medications creates a dangerous opportunity for accidental poisonings or illicit drug use.  More than 70% of prescription drug abusers say they get the medications from friends or relatives for free or by theft.
Captain Joel Shores, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, says “Prescription drug thefts have become a serious problem for law enforcement because of prescription abuse. Disposing of prescription medication properly is not only better for the environment, but also may prevent someone from becoming a target of theft and violence.”
Other medication disposal opportunities:
Permanent medication drop-boxes are also available at the Shelby Police Department and Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office.  The following Operation Medicine Drop events are also scheduled for this year:

March 16-22, 2014
Poison Control Week
Patrick Center, Kings Mountain
Continue to watch newspaper for times

March 22, 2014
Masonic Lodge, Boiling Springs
8:00 am-1:00 pm

April 26, 2014
Hazardous Household Waste Day
Cleveland County Health Department
9:00 am-1:00 pm

May 3, 2014
Kings Mountain High School
8:00 am-1:00 pm
Prescription drug misuse and abuse is a community problem.  The Taskforce for Overdose Prevention would like to encourage everyone to be a part of the solution by helping to ensure that medication is disposed of properly and never shared.  Take advantage of permanent medication drop-boxes and Operation Medicine Drop events to keep unused and expired medications out of your home, the wrong hands and the environment. 

The permanent medication drop-box is located just outside the front reception area of the Cleveland County Health Department and is available to the public Monday-Friday from 8:00 am-5:00 pm. Pictured from left to right: Chris Breese, Pharmacist, Cleveland County Health Department; Dorothea Wyant, Health Director, Cleveland County Health Department; Sheriff Alan Norman, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office;  Captain Joel Shores, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office and Tyler Beam, Pharmacist, Cleveland County Health Department

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