Front Porch Blog

Operation Medicine Cabinet: Saving the River and Kids from Drugs


Donna Lisenby, our Upper Watauga Riverkeeper, has teamed up with organizations in Watauga County, NC to offer the first ever prescription drug take-back day on Saturday, October 3 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Dubbed Operation Medicine Cabinet, the event is designed to safely dispose of drugs and keep them out of the hands of children and out of our water.

Anyone with outdated or unused prescription drugs, syringes or other medical supplies are invited to drop these off at the take-back centers. The event has been declared as an amnesty day, so controlled substances will also be taken with no questions asked.

Takeback locations will be available at three Food Lion stores in Watauga County: the Hwy 321 store in Boone, the Hwy 421 Deep Gap store, and the Blowing Rock store. The event will be held in conjunction with the county’s annual Hazardous Household Waste day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The disposal of prescription drugs has long been a dilemma, and many home medicine cabinets contain unused or outdated medications. Among teenagers, one of the highest increases in illegal drug use over the past several years has been in prescription drug use, most commonly obtained by raiding a family member’s or friend’s medicine cabinet.

As well, because local water treatment facilities are not set up to filter prescription drugs, an emerging threat to our waterways is the increasing evidence of prescription drug residue in the rivers. Tests have found blood pressure medicine, mood-enhancement drugs like Prozac, and antibiotics and estrogen.

Partners in Operation Medicine Cabinet include The Upper Watauga Rivereeper, Boone Drug, The Watauga River Conservation Partners, Watauga County Sheriff’s Department, Boone,Police Dept, NC Cooperative Extension Service, Town of Boone Utilities Department, the DEA, North Carolina SBI, Mountainkeepers, and Watauga County Solid Waste/Recycling Department.

Molly is passionate about sharing the environmental and cultural stories of our region, and serves as AV's Editorial Communications Coordinator and Editor of The Appalachian Voice publication.