By Michele Dotson

Operation Medicine Drop rxDo you have medicines that you are no longer taking? How about over-the-counter medicines that have expired? If so, please make a point to bring these unused medications to Walgreens at 9202 Lawyers Road in Mint Hill on March 22 from 10 am-2 pm.

Here your medicine will be properly and safely disposed of.

Taking this precaution can help prevent accidental poisoning of pets and children.

Last year, there were more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the U.S. Some of the most dangerous dog poisons are foods and medications we take on a daily basis.

Pet poisoning symptoms can include gastrointestinal and neurological problems, cardiac and respiratory distress, coma, and even death.

The number one dog poison is prescription medications for people. Drugs that might be beneficial or even lifesaving for people can have the opposite effect in pets. And it doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage.

Some of the most common and harmful medications that poison dogs and cats include:

Prescription anti-inflammatory and pain medications, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications.

Only 5 percent of the nearly 454,000 children age 5 years or younger who were treated for drug overdose emergencies last year were from dosage error. That means a full 95 percent of the cases involved “self-discovery” and “self-ingestion” of prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

Children in these cases found the pills in garbage cans or areas near garbage cans that had been emptied.

To help stop prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands, Attorney General Cooper and the SBI help sponsor prescription drug take-back events across the state.

Safely disposing of old medications through Operation Medicine Drop instead of throwing medicines into the trash, or flushing them down the drain, which allows the chemicals to end up in the water supply, is the best method to protect children and pets from accidental exposure.

Because narcotics and other dangerous drugs are often received at prescription drug take-back events, the Mint Hill Police will be on hand.

A second Operation medicine Drop Rx event is scheduled for April 26 from 10 am-2 pm at the Harris Teeter at 1036 Brighton park Drive.