Kingsport Times News Thursday, April 17, 2014

Local News

National Prescription Drug Take Back events set for this weekend

April 25th, 2013 7:08 am by Wes Bunch

GATE CITY — Law enforcement agencies throughout Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee are gearing up once again to participate in the National Prescription Drug Take Back, scheduled for this Saturday at locations throughout the region.

The Take Back events — which are being held across the country from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. unless otherwise noted — are designed to prevent prescription drug abuse and keep trace drugs out of water supplies by allowing residents to drop off unused, unwanted or expired medications at local law enforcement agencies for safe disposal. 

Now in its sixth year, the National Prescription Drug Take Back day is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Scott County Sheriff John Puckett — who, like other area law enforcement officials, is taking part in the effort — said he expects Saturday’s event to be a successful one.

“It’s really successful,” Puckett said. “When (DEA) sent us back a copy of what was turned in last year it was something like 25 pounds. When you look at it, 25 pounds is quite a bit of pills.”

The Scott County event will be held in the Scott County Sheriff’s Office parking lot on Willow Street behind the Scott County Courthouse.

Puckett said the Take Bake events allow residents to anonymously dispose of any medications, prescription or otherwise, they no longer need. Needles, or other intravenous solutions or injectables, will not be accepted.

“A lot of times if someone passes away and there are pills around the house, or if they’re outdated, this gives them an opportunity to get rid of all of this stuff,” Puckett said. “A lot of times people don’t know how to dispose of them, and it can eventually get in the water supply if they flush them or throw them in the yard, so it helps them that way.”

Puckett said getting rid of unneeded or unused prescription narcotics can also help reduce drug-related crime. 

“We’ve charged several children and grandchildren when someone passes away for selling their parents’ or grandparents’ drugs,” Puckett said. “They say this is a way to make some money and then get in trouble.

“Also, if people know the drugs are still there, or if someone who had cancer passed away, they know that there could still be powerful drugs there like morphine and Oxy-Contin, and they’ll break in the house to get what medication is left.” 

Once the drugs are collected, Puckett said they are transported to the nearest state police headquarters. There, the drugs are picked up by the DEA before being disposed of.

In Sullivan County, the Take Back event will be held at the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, located at 140 Blountville Bypass, while the Hawkins County event will be held at the Food City located at 731 Highway 11-W in Church Hill.

Take Back events in Lee and Wise counties will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office will host its event at the parking lot of the Pennington Gap Food City, while the Wise County event will be held at the Wildcat Pharmacy parking lot at 8641 Main St. in Pound.

The Norton Police Department will host an event at the Norton Walmart, while the Wise Police Department will hold its take back at the Food City located on Woodland Drive. 

Big Stone Gap Police will hold theirs at the Food City located on Wood Avenue East, while the Coeburn Police Department will be at the Food City located in the Marty Shopping Center.

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