Old drug drop-off April 29

Farragut residents have an opportunity to clean out their medicine cabinets of old, unwanted prescriptions and drop them off at Farragut Pharmacy so they can be disposed of properly.

Knox County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Metro Drug Coalition have partnered with Farragut Pharmacy to hold National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 29, at the pharmacy, 11424 Kingston Pike.

“Residents can turn in their unused or expired prescription medication for safe disposal, no questions asked,” said Capt. Robbie Lawson, KCSO liaison for Farragut/Turkey Creek area.

The Drug Take Back Day program keeps growing, Lee Tramel, KCSO Chief of Operations, said. He expected to see all kinds of medications, from vitamins to narcotics.

“We will take them all,” he said. However, they will not take blood sugar equipment, strips or needles, thermometers, IV bags, bloody or infectious waste or personal toiletries.

“On April 29, National Drug Take Back Day, we are asking you to count your medicine, lock it and then drop it,” Tramel added. “Count what you need, lock up and what you don’t need, bring it to us and let us dispose of it the proper way.

“Once a year, you can go through your medicines and get rid of what you don’t need.”

Tramel warns, “You don’t want to flush drugs down the toilet. It gets into our water system. Just because you flush it, it doesn’t mean it goes away.

“Our water table is affected by that, and with the amount of drugs being taken back today, that’s an enormous waste,” Tramel added. “So, if you can dispose of them properly, it’s better for all of us. It’s better for the environment and you can get those drugs out of your house that you’re not needing.”

“[Drugs are] one of the new contaminants [going into the water system,” Bruce Giles, general manager of First Utility District, said. “That’s one of the concerns with the [Environ-mental Protection Agency]. There are some initial studies being performed to try to determine the impact these drugs have on bodies like the Tennessee River because our treatment processes are not designed to remove narcotics from the water. That’s why it’s better to dispose of the drugs properly.”

“Since we started doing take back events in 2008 with our Medication Collection Task Force, we have collected over 22,000 pounds of medication from take back events and from the Knoxville Police Depart-ment Safety Center,” said Deborah Crouse, media relations and project director with MDC.

While the program has been in existence for 12 years, this is the first year it has been held at Farragut Pharmacy.

“The Sheriff’s Office approached me about having a Take Back Day,” said pharmacist Betsy Segraves, D.Ph., with Farragut Pharmacy. “It’s really a good idea for the community.

“... Having take back events for our community ensures that people are properly disposing of their medications and making sure they do not get into the wrong hands or diverted on the streets,” she added.

“This whole problem we’re having is opiates,” Tramel said. “We’ve seen, time and again, people stealing drugs out of homes. Listen, if you don’t need it, you need to get rid of it.”