Drug Take Back Day a success

‘Better than expected’ results reported

A resident drops off unused medication at Rocky Top police department.
On April 27, local police departments took part in the 2019 Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drug Take Back Day.

Norris Police Chief Sam Ogburn and dispatch officer Debbie Bailey said they were blown away at the amount of prescription drugs that were turned in. Residents were encouraged to bring their expired or unused medicine to one of the Anderson County locations, and in Norris, officers collected almost 90 pounds of medication.

“We filled four complete boxes,” said Bailey. “And then we didn’t have enough room.”

It’s the first year Norris participated in the program.

“We had over 40 people come by. Some people told me they had had it for years and they didn’t know what to do with it,” said Ogburn. “A lot of people just didn’t know what to do with unused prescriptions.”

In Rocky Top, dispatch officer Jackie West said they received 20.4 pounds. They have participated in the program for the past three or four years, according to West.

Clinton Police collected 71.2 pounds, according to Sgt. Danielle Alexander.

“That’s very unusual,” she said. “That’s a lot more than usual.”

The National Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue, according to a press release issued by ASAP of Anderson.

“We had several departments say they had a higher turnout than usual,” said ASAP’s Jennifer Burnett.

She attributes it to better advertising and good weather, but also to the increased awareness surrounding opioid abuse. Pain pills play a major part in the epidemic. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs, a number that has risen steadily over the years.

According to studies, many prescription drugs that are misused are often stolen or received from family and friends, according to statistics provided by ASAP. Bringing unused medication to police stations can help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.

Last October, 457.12 tons of unused and expired medication was collected nationwide.

If you missed the official Drug Take Back day, all local police departments have a permanent drug disposal box at their precincts.