Sponsored by the GRAAB Coalition (Going Respectfully Against Addictive Behaviors), Chattanooga’s Drug Enforcement Agency and Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Take-Back gives residents a unique opportunity to remove unneeded or outdated prescription medications from their homes in an efficient, timely and responsible manner.
Nationally, the Drug Enforcement Administration serves as prime sponsor of the initiative and coordinates the project.
In Bradley County, area residents — and those outside our community — are invited to drop off their obsolete medications at the Sheriff’s Office Monday, April 23, through Friday, April 27, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hypodermic needles or radioactive drugs cannot be accepted.
Those wishing to drop off unneeded medications are asked to the take them to the Criminal Investigations Office on the south side of the Bradley County Judicial Center located off APD 40.
Why is it a wise idea to participate in such an opportunity, even if residents are disposing only of over-the-counter medications? The reasons are plentiful, just a few of which include:
1. Too often leftover medications are flushed down toilets or drains. This is an unwise practice because such disposal can lead to the contamination of our drinking water and groundwater supplies. It isn’t always easy to make the connection, but toxic materials flushed at home, or dumped down drains, can make their way to the very water that gives us life.
2. Too often leftover medications are simply tossed into the bathroom trash receptacle, and later placed in garbage bags that are collected by external waste-service companies. These discards eventually will find their way into the Bradley County Landfill or another area landfill. Certain materials headed for landfills can eventually become toxins that can also find their way into area soil and groundwater.
3. Too often leftover medications remain on bathroom shelves or in medicine cabinets well within reach of children whose curiosity can result in toxic poisoning and even death.
4. Too often adults for whom the prescription medication was written are tempted to consume outdated pills months down the road to treat a similar illness that has reoccurred.
5. Too often adults succumb to temptation to offer their leftover medications — outdated or otherwise — to friends, family members and loved ones who might be suffering the same illness then or sometime later whether a few days, weeks or months.
6. Too often pets have been known to eat discarded medications from household trash receptacles; such consumption can be extremely dangerous to animals, especially small ones.
The Drug Take-Back is growing in community acceptance and popularity. Last year’s event received a record 180 pounds of prescription medications. Residents who participated last year, and those who did not, are encouraged to clean out their medicine cabinets in order to rid their homes of these potential toxins.
Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth reports last year’s community response “exceeded our expectations.”
We hope for similar results again next week.
We urge area residents to participate ... for the safety of their children, pets and themselves, and the protection of our environment.