Walgreens in East Ridge is Participating
The spring National Drug Take Back will be held on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time zone. The event provides residents the opportunity to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted medications. Residents may simply drive to a Drug Take Back location, where a law enforcement or volunteer will take the medications for proper disposal.
The service which is free and anonymous helps to prevent misuse and abuse of medications while protecting local water sources. Collected medications are incinerated, which is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended approach for pharmaceutical disposal. Flushing medications down the toilet and throwing them in the trash are discouraged.
“It’s important for us to keep these items out of landfills and water supplies. Through these efforts we are not only helping protect our water sources but also our community from the consequences of drug abuse,” said Lori Stenzel, Tennessee American Water Manager of Water Quality and Environmental Compliance.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), medicines left in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse. The Tennessee Department of Health reported a 6.76 percent increase for 2021 of nonfatal opioid overdoses from July to December compared to the same time period in 2020.
“Reported opioid overdose rates increased significantly during the pandemic,” said Camilla Bibbs, Executive Director of the Hamilton County Coalition. “We encourage residents to take advantage of the Drug Take Back to continue the trend of increasing collection of medication for proper disposal and to help reduce opportunities that could lead to diversion and overdose.”
Participating counties include Hamilton, Bradley, Sequatchie, Rhea, Grundy and Marion. Counties on central time zone will hold their drug take back events from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time. For a complete list of sites, visit the Hamilton County Coalition’s website, https://www.hccoalition.org/rx-drug-take-back-events.
Since 2018, 74 tons of medications has been collected across Tennessee over seven National Drug Take Back Days. The Tennessee Department of Health maintains a Drug Overdose data dashboard which can be accessed here and provides statistics by county.