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Annual Operation Rx Disposal targets unused medications in medicine cabinets

Becky Campbell • Apr 27, 2018 at 9:52 AM

As the opioid epidemic continues to rage on, there is a way citizens can help get unused drugs out of their homes and potentially away from potential abusers.

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will host its annual spring Operation Rx Disposal on Saturday at 11 locations in eight Northeast Tennessee counties.

Jennifer Breven, director of Insight Alliance —  a substance abuse prevention coalition that facilitates partnerships around projects and efforts to prevent substance abuse and decrease its impact — said residential medicine cabinets are often the first place children and teens gain access to prescription medications. Having those medications locked away, or getting rid of the ones no longer needed, is a key part of preventing that first experience.

“The first place kids access drugs or medication is in the home so it’s a good idea to get rid of those unused medications,” Breven said. “Keeping your medications clean of anything you don’t need, whether its opioids or anything else, is a good idea.”

That’s why Insight Alliance partners with the state to hold annual take-back events where there are no questions asked of people turning in unused or unwanted medications. In addition to the annual events for medication drop-off, many local law enforcement agencies have permanent drop boxes available. 

The locations scheduled for medication drop-off, which will be held from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, are:

Washington County

  • Johnson City Police Department parking lot.
  • Jonesborough Fire Hall.
  • Gray Community Center, 113 Gray Ruritan Drive.

Carter County

  • Elizabethton Police Department, 524 E. F St.
  • Carter County Sheriff’s Office, 900 E. Elk Ave.

Erwin

  • Erwin Police Department.

Johnson County

  • Mountain City Police Department, Church Street.

Greene County

  • Greeneville Police Department, North College Street.
  • Medicine Shoppe, Mosheim.

Sullivan County

  • Bristol Police Department.
  • Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Kingsport Police Department, but the setup will be at VO Dobbins Center, 301 Louis St.

Hawkins County

  • Food City, 731 U.S. Highway 11W, Church Hill.
  • Food City, 1287 E. Main St., Rogersville.

“While we’re staring to turn the ship around, it’s like turning the Titanic because there’s so many aspects that contributed to it,” Breven said about the opioid epidemic. Turning in unused drugs is a big step in curbing access, she said.

For more information about permanent drop box locations, or to learn how to safely secure medications at home, call Insight Alliance at 877-366-7593.

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