Groups team up to fight increase in prescription drug abuse

by: Peter Daut Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Police, hospitals and pharmacies have teamed up to fight the increase in prescription drug abuse. 

On Saturday, they're sponsoring Operation: Medicine Drop Off, an initiative that offers people an anonymous, safe way to dispose of unneeded prescriptions. 

Police departments have partnered with several drop-off locations, including Pike's Pharmacy in Charlotte.  Owner Jesse Pike said disposing of drugs the right way is also better for the environment.

"So many people are flushing medications or sending them to landfills, and we're going to be dealing with the consequences for generations to come," Pike said.

But the drop-off also aims at curbing an even deeper problem: Since 1999, about 4,500 North Carolinians have died from prescription drug poisoning.  More Americans now die from drug overdoses than car crashes each year.  There has also been a spike in teenagers abusing prescription drugs.

"They're getting them from going to doctors, they're getting them by buying from friends on the street, they're getting them from finding a prescription bottle of their mom's or their dad's," said Dr. Charles Bregier, medical director at Presbyterian Urgent Care.

The initiative is held twice a year in Charlotte and the surrounding areas. For a list of locations, click here.