The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office will accept old prescription and over-the-counter drugs for appropriate disposal at the Bradley County Judicial Complex Criminal Investigation Division, 2290 Blythe Ave., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today through Friday.
The entrance for drug disposal is at the south end of the complex, around the corner to the right of the main door to the Sheriff’s Office.
The Drug Take-Back Day scheduled for April 30 was canceled due to the devastation of the tornadoes in Bradley County.
GRAAB Coalition Coordinator Joyce Vanderpool said Bradley County is one of hundreds of communities nationwide attempting to tackle the issue of prescription drug abuse. On April 19, the Office of National Drug Control Policy released the Obama Administration’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan, titled “Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis.”
The plan provides a national framework for reducing prescription drug diversion and abuse by educating prescribers, patients and parents; supporting prescription drug monitoring programs in every state; implementing safe and environmentally responsible disposal of unused or unwanted prescription drugs; and involving law enforcement in the reduction of the number of “pill mills” and “doctor shopping” by those seeking to abuse prescription drugs.
The Going Respectfully Against Addictive Behaviors Coalition is on the forefront of the battle against the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. The recent Monitoring the Future survey – the Nation’s largest survey of drug use among young people – showed prescription drugs are the second most abused category of drugs after marijuana.
Also, the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows more than 70 percent of people who abused prescription pain relievers got them from friends or relatives and approximately 5 percent got them from a drug dealer or the Internet.
While Bradley County has not seen the “epidemic” levels other states and cities have witnessed, there is still cause for concern and taking action. A GRAAB Coalition administered 2009 Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services school survey showed 8 percent of Bradley County students surveyed reported abusing prescriptions in the past 30 days. In addition, 11 percent of the same Bradley County students surveyed reported having abused over-the-counter medications in the previous 30 days.
“GRAAB’s goal is to reduce abuse of inhalants, over-the-counter and prescription drugs among youth by expanding prevention and treatment programming in the community through the federally funded Drug Free Communities Support Program,” Vanderpool said.
Additional goals are implementation of an inhalant awareness program, as well as prescription drug management and disposal programs; and a continuing effort to inform the public about prevention and treatment resources. These goals will take time to accomplish, but with the help of our partners and community volunteers, they are achievable.
“As we work together as a community, we plan to ensure the laying of the foundation by which we can create sustainable community level change,” she said. “The GRAAB Coalition hopes that in the coming months, as we work closely with local pharmacists, health care providers and medical agencies, we will be able to educate the community on how to better safeguard their medications and use them as prescribed by their health care provider.”
She encouraged the community to get involved. For more information about the GRAAB Coalition or volunteer opportunities, please visit www.graabcoalition.com, or call 423-472-5800.