Tennesseans have an opportunity to safely and securely dispose of potentially addictive prescription medications at the upcoming National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The event is set for Saturday, October 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at locations across the state. Take back events offer an opportunity for anyone to properly dispose of medications that are no longer needed or expired including potentially addictive prescription opioids.
The annual take back event in April was derailed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but local community groups and law enforcement agencies that team up to host take back events have adapted to the pandemic protocols necessary to make the October event safe and effective for everyone. During the take back event in October 2019, Tennesseans safely and securely disposed of more than 26,000 pounds of medications at 145 collection sites
"We know that COVID-19 is causing increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress, and for some people, that is leading to increased use of substances. When you combine that with the availability of potentially addictive medications in the home and everyone spending more time at home, you have several risk factors all in one place," said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. "Participating in a prescription drug take back is an easy and effective way that anyone can take a positive step toward addressing that risk by decreasing access to medications that can be misused."
For people who are unable to participate in a take back event, there are more than 330 prescription drug drop boxes available across the state with at least one in every Tennessee county. Many of the boxes are placed in partnership with local law enforcement and pharmacies, and disposal is coordinated through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.