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TDEC Incentive Provides More Options for Pharmaceutical Drug Disposal

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | 10:00am

Joins Department of Health and Local Communities to Announce 14 New Permanent Collection Bins Across State

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, in partnership with local law enforcement agencies across the state and the Tennessee Department of Health, announced today its plans to introduce 14 new permanent collection bins for Tennessee residents to properly dispose of used or unwanted medication. Today’s announcement will bring the total of permanent collection bins to nearly 40 across the state.

Through TDEC’s Pharmaceutical Collection Program, the permanent bins offer a safe and easy way to dispose of unwanted medication, while creating opportunities for residents to promote environmental protection and a safer community. National statistics suggest that nearly 90 percent of Americans improperly dispose of outdated or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

“This joint effort with local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Health is important to educate citizens on the appropriate disposal of pharmaceuticals, while increasing the number of locations for them to do so,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “We need to make Tennessee’s citizens aware that throwing medication away with the household garbage or flushing it is not a safe method of disposal.  These additional permanent collection drop-off boxes offer Tennessean’s a safe and viable disposal option to keep drugs out of our water and off the streets.”

As part of TDEC’s new program, which was announced in 2012, permanent collection bin recipients were chosen from applications submitted by local law enforcement agencies, in return for their commitment to secure and monitor the bins. TDEC also will require a monthly report on the total of pounds collected. A list of counties receiving permanent collection bins include:

  • Bradley County                                                 
  • Carter County                                                                           
  • Davidson County                                                                                               
  • Dekalb County  
  • Dickson County
  • Henderson County
  • Henry County
  • Shelby County
  • Smith County
  • Sullivan County
  • Washington County
  • Williamson County                                                         

“We are pleased to partner with TDEC to provide more safe places for disposal of unwanted medications that all too often have been the cause of harm from poisoning to abuse to death,” said Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Through these efforts and the efforts of our sister agency the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, there are now convenient places across our state where average citizens can be a part of the solution to this vexing challenge.”

TDEC sponsors both the new permanent collection sites and temporary collection events throughout the year. For communities interested in becoming a permanent drop-off location, please contact Kathy Glapa in TDEC’s Office of Sustainable Practices at 615-253-8780 or For more information about the Pharmaceutical Collection Program, including a complete list of participating counties and acceptable or non-acceptable items, please visit   

For Tennessee communities without permanent collection bins, the Drug Enforcement Administration and a number of cities and counties schedule one-time events throughout the year in various locations. The DEA will hold a National Prescription Take Back Day on Saturday, April 27, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in communities across the country. These annual events are great opportunities for those who have accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications. To learn more about the DEA’s National Take Back Day, including how to find a collection event near you, visit  

Through its county-level substance abuse prevention coalitions, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will also sponsor several Take Back Day events across the state.  For details about these locations, please visit   


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