We see the impact of opioid abuse daily. We see it on the faces of family members and friends who are desperate to help their children struggling with addiction. We see it on the faces of co-workers who have lost family members to a drug overdose. Health care providers see it when a patient decides to seek professional help. First responders see it when they are trying desperately to save an overdose victim.
The opioid epidemic has its grip on our state. It’s everywhere. Its impact knows no boundaries. It can happen to anyone.
Twice a year, the National Drug Enforcement Administration and partner organizations host thousands of take-back events across the country. This spring, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation is proud to partner with Count It! Lock It! Drop It! (CLD) and the Memphis Area Prevention Coalition to host National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 29, at more than 100 locations across the state.
The goals for these events are to provide safe, convenient locations for disposing of prescription drugs and other medications and to raise awareness about the potential risks for abuse and misuse of certain medications, such as opioids.
According to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, 55 percent of those using prescription painkillers recreationally got them from a friend or relative. We hope you’ll take some time this week to clean out your medicine cabinets to get rid of unused or expired medications.
Join us on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., at one of several Shelby County-area locations to properly dispose of your medications. To find a take-back event close to your home, visit http://www.countitlockitdropit.org
If you can’t join us at one of these events, we encourage you to visit the CLD website to find the location of a permanent drop box that collects unused or expired medications year-round.
Simple, safe disposal of unused drugs is vital in fighting our state’s opioid epidemic. With take-back events, the process is quick, easy and anonymous.
This is one small step in helping fight opioid abuse. Together, we can make a difference in our communities.
Dr. Andrea Willis is chief medical officer at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.