April 28, 2018
Some arrived with tote bags full of opioids, sleeping pills, anti-depressants and other potentially dangerous medications.
All together, authorities collected nearly 700 pounds of painkillers and other medications across the greater Nashville area during Saturday’s “Count it! Lock it! Drop it!” collection event on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Among the drugs collected were Xanax, Valium, hydrocodone and Ativan.
The event was designed to remove opioids and any idle drugs from people’s homes so family members and friends aren’t tempted to abuse them.
Sixty-four percent of Tennesseans know someone who has become addicted to prescription pain medication, according to a 2016 survey by BlueCross BlueShield.
“This is the safest way to get rid of them. They’re taken by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to be incinerated,” said Kristina Clark, project manager for Nashville’s “Count it! Lock it! Drop it!” program. “The number-one way that youth ages 12 to 24 use prescription drugs for the first time is by getting them in their parents’ or grandparents’ home.”
Fifteen lockboxes were sent home Saturday with people concerned about keeping drugs away from family members.
The busiest collection center was Walgreens Pharmacy, at 1509 Murfreesboro Road in Franklin, where 309 pounds of prescriptions were delivered. The weight includes containers holding the pills.
Nearly 150 pounds of medications were dropped off at LaVergne Police Department in Rutherford County.
The Brentwood Police Department collected 125 pounds of pills and bottles.
The Fairview Police Department gathered 80 pounds, and 31 pounds of pills were turned in to TriStar Skyline Medical Center in the North Nashville area.
Statewide, about 150 take-back events were held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
But drop-off boxes are available year-round at many police stations and pharmacies. A list of locations is available at http://countitlockitdropit.org.
A similar event last year collected 326 pounds of hydrocodone, OxyContin, and various anti-anxiety and sleeping medications without packaging.
Read the full story on The Tennessean.
Sandy Mazza was a reporter for the Southern California News Group before coming to The Tennessean to report on Nashville growth and development.