Questions raised about opioid disposal in Mecklenburg County

Questions about how to properly dispose of prescription drugs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A local woman said she wanted to share her story of confusion and mixed messages after she attempted to dispose of prescription drugs she was given after surgery. 

The woman, who requested anonymity, is recovering from surgeries and her doctor prescribed potent patches laced with fentanyl. After she didn't need the drugs anymore, she tried to dispose of them safely. 

That's where this story begins. 

“I'm afraid that if a child or animal get a hold of it, one of the patches, it would kill them. It's a strong opioid,” she explained.

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So she decided to call Charlotte's Solid Waste department. And she recorded the phone call. They told her to call the police and the police told her to call 311.

Finally, she called the city's 311 information line and got the answers she was searching for.

“You call 311 and that's the right area for that. For liquids, let's see, they're saying to mix straight into the kitty litter and when you mix that just place it into the regular trash," she said. 

That's right — the trash.

Even the 311 operator's script confirms the drugs are supposed to be tossed into kitty litter. That's what callers will be told.

But this woman was dealing with fentanyl, an opioid that's 50-100 times more powerful than morphine.

So some question if it's really a good idea to drop it in the trash.

“What's going to happen to our landfills? Put a park on top of it, or golf course? Whatever they're going to do. And if somebody touches it, especially the fentanyl it could kill them,” the woman said.

The 311 operator also directed the woman to Charlotte's prescription drop-off locations, but none of them were in her area.

Those four Mecklenburg County locations where you can get rid of old prescription drugs include Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Headquarters in uptown, the Mecklenburg County jail north location as well as the Mathews and Mint Hill Police Departments.

For more information about proper drug disposal, you can visit the county's website by clicking here.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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