Prescription drugs

Drug Drop Boxes

What is a drug drop box?

A drug take back box is a free, easy, safe and anonymous way to dispose of no longer needed or outdated medicine.

Medicine is collected from drug take back boxes by law enforcement and properly destroyed, keeping it out of:

  • Your home
  • Our waters
  • The reach of children and drug abusers

What is accepted?

  • Prescription Medicine
  • Medicine Samples
  • Animal Medicine
  • Over the Counter Medicine
  • Vitamins
  • Inhalants

View the listing of all of Cleveland County’s Drug Drop Box Locations!

Keep unused drugs out of the wrong hands! Visit one of our Drug Drop Box locations today.

Statistics/General Information

Many parents are unaware of the range of substances that teens may abuse. The liquor cabinet is not the only cabinet teens are accessing to get high.  According to research, the most common way for teens to get high is to search their parents’ medicine cabinet. Parental communication is proven to be the most effective way to prevent teens from abusing drugs. Therefore, parents should make sure their teenagers know it is not okay to take prescription drugs not prescribed to the or OTC drugs unnecessarily. Because these drugs are easily accessible, teens often perceive them as being safe.

The abuse of Rx and OTC Drugs can:

  • Increase blood pressure or heart rate
  • Damage the brain and other organs
  • Lead to accidental overdose/poisoning
  • Cause physical dependency/addiction
  • Disrupt breathing
  • Lead to risks associated with mixing drugs or combining alcohol
  • Cause seizures and even death

Common Teen Misperceptions

40% of teens say even if Rx drugs are not prescribed by a doctor, they are much safer to use than illegal drugs.
31% of teens say there is nothing wrong with using Rx drugs without a doctor’s prescription.
29% of teens say Rx pain relievers are not addicting.


  • Always store medicines and vitamins in a locked location, out of the reach and sight of children.

  • Put medicines and vitamins away after every use. Never leave them on the counter between doses and don’t be tempted to “keep them handy” in a purse or briefcase.

  • Buy child-resistant packages when they are available and securely

  • Participate in a medicine disposal day in your community.

  • Find events in Cleveland County.

  • Avoid tendencies to self-diagnose and self-prescribe.

  • Model safe medication-taking practices for others.

  • Talk with your family members, friends and neighbors.


Keep unused or expired medications out of wrong hands.

Prescription Drug Diversion a Top Priority for Law Enforcement

5 mg Hydrocodone pills purchased undercover by Jon Owen, Drug Diversion Investigator, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office

*A Year at a Glance

July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015

  • Number of Prescription Drug Abuse Presentations: 23
  • Number of Doctor/ Pharmacy visits: 236
  • Number of Undercover Operations: 65
  • Number of People added to the Pill tracking Database: 104
  • Number of pills collected through take back boxes and drop-off events: 1,064,188
  • Street Value of prescription medication taken in: $ 4,668,068
  • Criminal Charges made by DDI for drug diversion: 98

*These numbers only reflect the work of the Drug Diversion Investigator for the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office.  They do not include the work of the entire Narcotics Unit nor the work of other law enforcement agencies.

Funded by a Federal Drug Diversion Grant, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office employs a Drug Diversion Investigator whose sole responsibility is to prevent the use of prescription drugs for illegal purposes.
  • These prevention efforts include:
  • Investigating crimes involving the illegal use, sale and delivery of prescription drugs through the use of informants and undercover purchases.
  • Investigating healthcare providers who prescribe prescription drugs to ensure they are following North Carolina Federal Law governing prescription medications.
  • Working with local pharmacies to investigate the theft and loss of prescription drugs.
  • Making criminal charges for the illegal use, sale and delivery of prescription drugs.
  • Working closely with the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on investigations involving the illegal use, sale or delivery of prescription drugs.
  • Educating the public and professionals on the problems associated with the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs and steps they can take to help prevent it.
  • Placing, monitoring and emptying all permanent medication drop boxes in Cleveland County.

The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit makes multiple purchases of controlled substances every day.  We make more purchases for prescription medications than any other drug. Many people don’t consider prescription medications as “real drugs” because they are prescribed by a doctor.  The fact is, possessing prescription medications without a prescription is illegal!  Buying, selling and delivering prescription drugs is also illegal and law enforcement is doing everything we can to stop it!  Using prescription drugs in a way other than what is prescribed can be very dangerous and addictive.

-Jon Owen, Drug Diversion Investigator, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office

To request a presentation for healthcare providers, civic organizations, churches or other groups, contact:

Jon Owen, Drug Diversion Investigator

Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office


This website was developed, in part, under grant number 1H79SP020340-01 from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The views, opinions, and content of this publication are those of the authors and contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of ONDCP, SAMHSA, or HHS, and should not be construed as such.Copyright 2015 Cleveland County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition | All Rights Reserved | The Awen Group