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National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Highlights Need to Properly Dispose of Expired, Unused, Unwanted Medications

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 | 10:44am

Dozens of Sites will be Set Up Around Tennessee on Saturday, April 26

NASHVILLE — To help reduce the number of Americans who are abusing prescription drugs, National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will be held on Saturday, April 26, so that thousands of pounds of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted medications and other substances can be safely removed from homes around the United States.

“It is extremely important to remove unused medications if they are no longer being used as intended,” Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner E. Douglas Varney says. “More than 1,000 Tennesseans die each year from drug overdoses, and many of those deaths could be prevented if all unused prescription medication were disposed of properly.”

This year, there will be more Take-Back Day events around Tennessee thanks to the five additional incinerators placed at law enforcement locations around the state, bringing the total number to 13. The five counties housing the new incinerators are Dyer, Franklin, Roane, Rutherford, and Weakley counties; the other eight counties where incinerators have been in use at THP locations are Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Lawrence, Madison, Putnam, Shelby, and Washington counties.

“Developing and implementing a statewide prescription drug take-back initiative accessible to all Tennesseans is part of Governor Haslam’s Public Safety Action Plan,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “Through the Highway Patrol, we are glad to be partners in helping provide incinerator sites as part of this plan.”

By adding these additional incinerators, Tennessee has been able to beef up the number of permanent prescription drug take-back boxes; currently, there are 86 permanent prescription drug take-back boxes at law enforcement facilities in 48 counties. Law enforcement professionals highly recommend the use of these permanent boxes throughout the year to reduce the possibility of theft and/or accidental overdose. For a list of the permanent prescription drug disposal box locations, visit the TDMHSAS website at tn.gov/mental or http://www.tn.gov/mental/publications/Permanent%20Drug%20Take-Back%20Boxes%20010514.pdf.

Along with the permanent locations, a number of special take-back locations will be set up on Saturday as part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Most events will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but times may vary at individual sites. To locate a collection site nearest you, check with your local community anti-drug coalition or law enforcement agency to see if your community is setting up a temporary take-back location, or check with the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback or by calling (800) 882-9539.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is held twice each year to raise awareness of permanent prescription drug disposal boxes that have been established around the nation. Last October, Americans turned in 324 tons (more than 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 4,114 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in its seven previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in more than 3.4 million pounds — more than 1,700 tons — of pills.

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