Ask 13: How are pills dropped off at collection events disposed of?

"I am curious, will they just throw them in the landfill to get in our water, or is there a 'green' way to dispose of them?" (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Our question comes from viewer David Richardson, asking about the fate of the pills collected in the recent Operation Medicine Drop.

He writes, "I am curious, will they just throw them in the landfill to get in our water, or is there a 'green' way to dispose of them?"

In case you didn't hear, last week's Operation Medicine Drop brought law enforcement officials together to collect unused or unneeded medications.

They say it's more important than ever right now to get rid of these prescriptions, especially with the huge opioid crisis.

Experts believe abuse of these prescription meds is fueling deadly opioid addition.

About a thousand pounds of pills were collected during the drop-off event..

State attorney general josh stein was at the event.. And we asked him how they get rid of the medications.

"The State Bureau of Investigations collects all these boxes, they're taped up (and) very safely guarded," said state Attorney General Josh Stein. "Then they collect them, and take them to an incinerator in Alamance County, where they follow all the EPA standards, and they will burn them,"

Stein says you don't want to dump your unused pills down the toilet or throw them in the trash. That can cause the contamination of water resources, and lead to even more problems for humans and wildlife.

He says the safest thing to do is to take them to a drop-off event like Operation Medicine Drop.

Stein says people would not leave a loaded gun in their medicine cabinet, but that's exactly what they do when they keep unneeded narcotics at home.

Stein says safely disposing of them will help save lives, because addiction often begins with prescribed medicines.

If you have a question for us, write us at Ask13@wlos.com.

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