Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Project Lazarus Mailbox Dropbox!

Monday, October 27th, 2014 - posted by wendy

No worries if you forgot about Saturday’s drug take back because now there are two drop sites for medications in the county!  Thanks to Project Lazarus  there are mailbox dropboxes in the lobbies of the Boone Police Department and the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and you can drop off unused and/or expired medications anytime!

Project Lazarus Drug Drop-Off Mailbox

Fall 2014 Operation Medicine Cabinet a Success!

Monday, October 27th, 2014 - posted by wendy

Another successful Watauga County Operation Medicine Cabinet this past Saturday! Thank you to our wonderful law enforcement for supporting this valuable community program, including; Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Foscoe Police Department and Volunteer Fire Dept, Blowing Rock Police Department & Boone Police Department! Thank you to all in the community who came out to support the event! Results: 37,722 pills, 5,826 sharps, 327oz of liquids collected and incinerated!

Sheriff L.D. Hagaman deposits thousands of pills into the incineration barrel.


May 2013 OMC is a HUGE Success!

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 - posted by jamie

You did it AGAIN! We had another fabulous Operation Medicine Cabinet despite the cold and rainy weather on Saturday. We collected a total of 179,673 pills during our spring 2013 collection. Since we started OMC in 2009, we have collected a total of 1,182,467 pills. That is a lot of pills we have kept off the streets and out of our rivers. Saturday’s effort keeps High Country Operation Medicine Cabinet at the top of leader board in the state of North Carolina.

The Seven Devils crew had a record setting number of drugs turned in this year. Here is a look at the results from each collection site:

Seven Devils/Foscoe

  • Pills: 103,082
  • Liquids: 58.2 oz
  • Sharps: 211
  • Participants: 17

Deep Gap

  • Pills: 29,636
  • Liquids: 88 oz and 540 mL
  • Sharps: 2,000
  • Participants: 41


  • Pills: 26,817
  • Liquids: 63.5 oz and 800 mL
  • Sharps: 5,000
  • Participants: 57

Blowing Rock:

  • Pills: 12,638
  • Liquids: 15.5 oz and 1,383 mL
  • Sharps: 20
  • Participants: 17


  • Pills: 7,500
  • Liquids: ?
  • Sharps: ?
  • Participants: 12

Here are our historical totals since we started the Watauga OMC in 2009:

Number of pills collected

As you can see, this spring was our third best collection even though it was the start of a epic flood. So great work, everybody. And thanks for all you do.

Saving Our Kids and Rivers from Drugs: Operation Medicine Cabinet May 3, 2013

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 - posted by jamie

April 29, 2013

Len Hagaman, Watauga County Sheriff 828-264-3761
Lisa Doty, Watauga County Recycling Coordinator 828-265-4852
Wendy Patoprsty, Watauga County Extension Agent 828-264-3061
Donna Lisenby, Watauga Riverkeeper 704-277-6055

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Watauga County, NC — Do you have outdated or unused prescription drugs, over the counter medications, syringes or other medical supplies? Come drop them off at the sponsored take-back centers on Saturday May 4, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Take-back locations will be available at the Foscoe Fire Department and the three Food Lion stores in Watauga County: the Highway 321 store in Boone, the Highway 421 Deep Gap store, and the Blowing Rock store. It is an amnesty day, so no questions will be asked.

Three and half years ago, on Oct. 3, 2009, a broad coalition of community partners came together to create the first ever prescription drug take-back day in the High Country. Since that first event a total of seven “Operation Medicine Cabinet” events have been held every May and October as part of the Watauga County household hazardous waste day. As you can see from the number of pills collected since the event began, we do a lot of drugs here in the High Country:

Oct 2009: 40,000
May 2010: 188,000
Oct 2010: 350,000
May 2011: 87,285
Oct 2011: 88,000
May 2012: 153,778
Oct 2012: 95,731
May 2013: 179,673
Total: 1,182,467


Pills collected

October 2009


May 2010


October 2010


May 2011


October 2011


May 2012


October 2012




Thanks to broad support by community members across the region, the High Country has collected a total of 1, 002, 794 pills since 2009. That makes our county, one of the best in the state. On a per capita basis, our community has repeatedly outperformed Raleigh, Charlotte and Asheville even though they are much larger cities.

In 2010, our local Operation Medicine Cabinet was recognized as a model program and adopted by other community groups across North Carolina. In 2011, more than forty drug take back events were held across the state. The High Country group wants to continue leading the state by hosting another highly successful haul of dangerous prescription drugs.

The disposal of prescription drugs has long been a dilemma, and many medicine cabinets contain unused or outdated medications. Among teenagers, the fastest growing illegal drug use is the abuse of prescription drugs. The most common method of obtaining prescription drugs is by raiding the medicine cabinet of a friend or family, then consuming the pills or selling them.

“From a law enforcement perspective, one of our most important jobs is to work diligently and proactively to prevent drug abuse,” said Watauga County Sheriff Len D. Hagaman. “By hosting an amnesty day that allows the public to turn in any kind of unused or unwanted medications, hopefully, we will keep those drugs off the street and out of the hands of children.”

Another problem with outdated or unused prescription drugs is that people dispose of them improperly by flushing them down the toilet. If their home is connected to a local waste water treatment facility, then the drugs wind up in either the Watauga River or New River where they can negatively affect aquatic organisms. If the homes have septic tanks, the drugs leach into the soils and contaminate groundwater that can be taken up by well pumps.

“A recent investigation by the Associated Press found a whole host of pharmaceuticals-including antibiotics, pain medication, anti-depressants, sex hormones, heart and blood pressure medicine-in the drinking water of more than 40 million Americans,” said Donna Lisenby, Watauga Riverkeeper.

“It has been very rewarding to see how enthusiastically people have united to support Operation Medicine Cabinet,” said Dick and Joan Hearn of the Watauga River Partners. “We have over 30 community partners, including Helen M. Clabough Charitable Foundation, MountainKeepers, the towns and police departments of Beech Mountain, Boone, Blowing Rock and Seven Devils, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, the State Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Safe Kids North Carolina, Boone Drug, Watauga County Recycling/Solid Waste Department, Watauga Riverkeeper/Western North Carolina Alliance, Food Lion, Appalachian Voices, Precision Printing, Foscoe and Beaverdam Fire Departments, the Smoky Mountain Center and Appalachian State University just to name a few,” they continued.


Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 - posted by wendy


Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 - posted by wendy


First Ever Operation Medicine Cabinet a Huge Success

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 - posted by admin

Law Enforcement officials and river conservationists collected a large amount of drugs during Watauga County’s first ever prescription drug take back event on Saturday October 3, 2009. The hugely successful event captured approximately 40,000 pills, 12 gallons of liquid medication, 2000 sharps-needles, syringes and lancets, and a glucose meter. It was so successful that it made front page news in the local Watauga Democrat.

More than 18 volunteers and 8 members of law enforcement from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Department, the State Bureau of Investigation, Blowing Rock, Boone and Seven Devils Police Departments participated in the joint operation at four separate locations.

Approximately 56 people turned in their expired, unwanted and unused medications for safe destruction. Drugs collected included hydrocodone, oxycodone, blood thinners, anti-allergens, iodine, insulin, antibiotics, steroids, hormones, anti-depressants, cough syrup, topical creams, over the counter medications, flu vaccinations, heart, blood pressure, cancer and heartburn medicine and even some pet medications. Boone Patrol Officer Toby Ragan said, “I feel it was a great success and it will probably be an annual event now that we see the outcome of what was produced today.” More than one and a half 55-gallon drums were filled with drugs dropped off by residents in the region.

“I am so happy y’all are doing this,” said one participant [names are withheld to protect anonymity]. “It makes so much sense for the health and well being of our kids and the planet – what a wonderful program.”

Other positive responses to the event included “I needed to get rid of the out-of-date drugs because I don’t want prescription drugs around my teenage son” and “Thank you so much for doing this, I didn’t know what to do with all these drugs, I am so grateful that our law enforcement is pro-actively keeping prescription drugs out of teenagers hands.”

Volunteer Crystal Simmons said, “Operation Medicine Cabinet is a result of a MountainKeepers resiliency meeting on January 24, 2009. For the High Country to create such an event is a real testament to our commitment to a healthier environment and a safer community. I give kudos to all the volunteers that helped make this event happen, and to the people that turned out to responsibly dispose of unused pharmaceuticals.”

Community partners who helped make the event such a great success included the MountainKeepers, Watauga River Conservation Partners, Boone Drug, Watauga County Recycling/Solid Waste Department, Watauga Riverkeeper/Appalachian Voices, Food Lion, The National Committee for the New River, MPrints, NC Cooperative Extension Service, Precision Printing, the Smoky Mountain Center, Towns of Boone, Blowing Rock and Seven Devils, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Boone Police, the State Bureau of Investigation, Blowing Rock Police, Seven Devils Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Appalachian State University.