Dangerous Opioids Among the Thousands of Pounds of Old Medications Collected and Destroyed as Part of Operation Medicine Drop



CONTACT:  Angie Grube

SBI Public Information Director



October 31, 2019


Dangerous Opioids Among the Thousands of Pounds of Old Medications Collected and Destroyed as Part of Operation Medicine Drop

(Raleigh, NC) - The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) delivered 38,541 pounds of unused prescription medications to a state-approved incinerator on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, where the pills were destroyed.  That translates into approximately 28.9 million dosage units.  The medications were collected during the fall phase of Operation Medicine Drop (OMD) which is held twice a year, during the spring and fall.

OMD is a partnership between Safe Kids North Carolina, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the North Carolina Department of Justice and Attorney General Josh Stein’s Office, the North Carolina Department of Insurance, the North Carolina National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, the SBI and law enforcement agencies across the state.  This fall, 136 local law enforcement agencies took part in OMD, the largest number so far for agency participation.  Since 2013, OMD has collected 207.2 million prescription pills. 

Unfortunately, prescription drugs are like a magnet to people struggling with addiction or young people looking to mess around,” said Attorney General Josh Stein.  “Extra, unneeded prescriptions are helping to fuel the opioid epidemic.  But there is one thing each one of us can do to make a difference and keep people safe in our communities:  safely dispose of unneeded medication and lock up any other prescriptions to ensure they will not get in the wrong hands.  I want to thank the many North Carolinians who took their unneeded drugs back in 2019 – but remember, every day is drug takeback day because there are permanent drop boxes all over our state. Visit www.morepowerfulnc.org to find one near you.”


 “With the assistance of our valued partners, we were able to properly destroy a significant amount of unused or expired prescription medications that now cannot be misused by our citizens or negatively impact our environment,” said SBI Special Agent in Charge John Keane.

The next coordinated Operation Medicine Drop event will take place in the spring of 2020.  Please see below for the amount of medications that have been collected and destroyed since 2013.  These numbers reflect OMD events for each year: 


  2013 – 20,176 lbs.

 2014 –  9,932 lbs.

  2015 – 26,238 lbs.

  2016 – 41,385 lbs.

  2017 – 48,354 lbs.

  2018 – 62,239 lbs.

  2019 – 68,056 lbs.