Drug Take Back set for Saturday

Published 9:27 am Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Local agencies are partnering up this weekend to help educate residents on the dangers of keeping unused medications at home and how to safely dispose of them.

The Elizabethton Police Department, Carter County Sheriff’s Office, and Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition are teaming up to sponsor the semi-annual Drug Take Back Event. The program provides residents with a way to safely dispose of unused, expired, and unwanted medications.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In years past, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration used to host these events across the country, but last year the DEA decided to stop providing the events. The Elizabethton Police Department decided to pick up the torch and continue the program after seeing the benefits it provides the community.

“This time around the Carter County Sheriff’s Department will be partnering with us to have one collection point on that day,” said Sgt. Will Johnson of the EPD Criminal Investigations Division. “As usual, the ETSU Pharmacy School will be here doing their part in collecting and categorizing all the medication received.”

The Elizabethton Police Department has participated in the Drug Take Back event for several years.

During the early years, the department collected a lot of unused medications said Johnson. Now, the collections during the one-day events have slowed because both the Police Department and Sheriff’s Office have collection bins on site year-round, as do some local pharmacies.

Johnson said the EPD averages 50 to 60 pounds of unwanted medications in their drop box each month.

Disposing of unwanted medication can also help combat the drug problems within the community.

“We know about 70 percent of our youth who use drugs access them at home for the first time,” said Jillian Reece, Director of the Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition said. “That is a staggering number.”

By counting medications, keeping medicine locked up, and disposing of them when they are no longer needed, Reece said residents can help combat the drug problem.

The Drug Take Back event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Elizabethton Police Department, located at 525 E. F St., in downtown Elizabethton.

Reece said her organization has some special things planned for the event including chances to win door prizes for those who bring unwanted medications for disposal. The Coalition will also have a “Community Helpers” event that day featuring activities for children with community helpers such as police officers, firefighters, and mail carriers.

Also, Miss Tennessee Caty Davis will take part in the event from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. One of Davis’ platform issues is Attacking Addition, and she has been named a Goodwill Ambassador for the “Count It. Lock It. Drop It.” program through BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.