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Do You Know What’s In Your Medicine Cabinet?

| Date Posted: 3/17/2015

by Amy Hamilton-Forester, community outreach manager, FirstHealth Community Health Services


A friend of mine commented recently about the thin layer of pollen on her car when she hopped in to go to work one day this week. Pollen!?! Spring blossoms? Allergies?  I decided to go home that night and check out the family medicine cabinet (or should I say multiple cabinets).  I first went to my bathroom to scout out any allergy medicine that might be hanging around from the “not so long ago” ragweed season last fall. 

The first bottle I looked at had one pill in it. Not allergy medicine. What was this for anyway? One lone antibiotic capsule jiggled in the bottle. Filled in July, 2013. After reading the label I find the small print. “Discard after July, 2014."

The next bottle I found was some children’s liquid antihistamine. Yes! I found the mother load. But wait, my youngest child is 15. How old is this stuff anyway? He doesn't take liquid antihistamine anymore. I turned the beaten up box around and upside down and finally found the expiration date. This one went out in 2010.

Oh and there is that bottle of medicine that just didn't work. The doctor said not to take those anymore.  27 capsules left but still good. They just weren't good for me, right?

I decided to check the kitchen cabinet and things were much worse there. More expired children’s medicines...and lots of expired pet medications. Who would think that dogs can take as many medications as humans? 

But lucky for me, there are places all around the Sandhills that can help me safely and responsibly discard all the unneeded, unwanted and expired medications in my home. Operation Medicine Drop is taking place right now! It’s National Poison Prevention Week- March 15-21, 2015.

Since 2010, Operation Medicine Drop has collected nearly 53 million pills at more than 1,600 events throughout the State.  These events are hosted by law enforcement agencies and items can be dropped off, no questions asked, at a number of locations in our area - Montgomery, Moore, Richmond and Scotland counties. Registered Operation Medicine Drop events are listed at the North Carolina Safe Kids website and are being promoted throughout our region. In addition, permanent drop boxes are located at various law enforcement agencies and offer families the opportunity to make their homes a little bit safer throughout the year.

Take advantage of this fabulous service offered in your community. Make your home a little bit safer for everyone who enters. I’ve got my bag ready to go! And while I’m out, I better stop to buy that allergy medicine.


Want to learn more? Contact Amy Hamilton-Forester, community outreach manager for FirstHealth Community Health Services and coordinator for Safe Kids Mid-Carolinas Region at or visit

Operation Medicine Drop is a partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina, the Riverkeepers of North Carolina, NC State Bureau of Investigation, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of North Carolina and local law enforcement agencies working together to encourage the public to safely dispose of unused, unwanted and expired medication. By providing safe and secure ways for people to get rid of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications, Operation Medicine Drop helps prevent accidental poisonings and drug abuse while protecting our waters.


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