SBI Collects a Record 13 Tons of Pills for Incineration

RALEIGH – The State Bureau of Investigation delivered more than 13 tons of prescription pills to an incinerator Nov. 2, a record for Operation Medicine Drop, the statewide campaign to safely dispose of unused medications.

“This amount, 26,991 pounds, breaks the record for a one-time event as well as for yearly totals,” said John Keane, special agent in charge of SBI’s Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit. “This was a huge success in getting dangerous opioids out of people’s medicine cabinets and away from children and those with drug addictions.” 

The number of pills collected equals approximately 20.2 million dosage units.

The first Operation Medicine Drop started in 2007 with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the State Bureau of Investigation. In 2009, the campaign expanded statewide. In 2013, other agencies joined including Safe Kids North Carolina and the Dept. of Insurance.
The number of pounds collected and destroyed since 2013:
  • 2013 – 20,176
  • 2014 –  9,932
  • 2015 – 26,238
  • 2016 – 41,385
  • 2017 – 48,354
Operation Medicine Drop encourages people to dispose of their unused, unwanted and expired medications by dropping them off at a local law enforcement agency or designated pharmacy. Law enforcement agencies take the collected medicines to one of eight SBI field offices where they are delivered to the SBI Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit in Raleigh for disposal.

“For people who need treatment, the SBI encourages them to seek that treatment,” said SBI Director Bob Schurmeier. “For those involved in diversion activities, we have agents working day and night to address that problem. We have agents working around the clock to deal with illegal drugs that are coming to North Carolina. We are aggressive, we’re coming after people who are involved in that activity and we are relentless.”

Operation Medicine Drop is held twice a year, spring and fall.