Last month, the Knoxville News Sentinel and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee sponsored an opioid epidemic forum to address the growing opioid problem in Tennessee. The event offered the community opportunities to ask questions and get involved.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, health care professionals in Tennessee wrote more than 7.8 million opioid prescriptions in 2015, which is the equivalent of one prescription for each person – every man, woman and child – in the state.
Event panelists included Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch, Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of the Knox County Health Department, and Dr. Andrea Willis, chief medical officer for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
Chief Rausch has seen firsthand the effects of drug addiction. He and his wife are currently raising his stepson’s child because both he and the mother are struggling with addiction. He encouraged community members to safely drop off unused prescription medicine instead of keeping them in a cabinet for others to find.
He offered an easy disposal method for people needing to get rid of pills.
“Bring [your medicine] to the police station and use the drop box,” Chief Rausch said. “We’ll take care of burning and getting rid of it. Drop it in the box, and we’ll handle the rest.”
Dr. Willis explained to everyone the importance of counting pills, keeping them locked up in a safe place and dropping them off once they are no longer needed. She reminded attendees that there are drop boxes in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.
She also highlighted BCBST’s commitment to being a part of the public health solution. Together with law enforcement, the legislature and the medical community, BCBST is working to change the conversation around opioids and help put an end to this epidemic.
If you have medication you’d like to remove from your home, please use our drop box finder to find the drop-off location nearest you. In addition, National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is taking place on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those locations are also listed on our searchable map.
Want to get involved? Contact your local coalition to see how you can help!