It is the Drug Take-Back program, an initiative whose popularity continues to grow thanks to a mutual partnership between the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the GRAAB Coalition, also known as Going Respectively Against Addictive Behavior.
Those who use the program are probably asking, “Didn’t we just empty out our medicine cabinet and shelves of expired, unused or unwanted medications?”
The answer is “yes.” BCSO hosted the most recent Drug Take-Back last April. That’s why we say the campaign’s popularity is growing and its positive influence is spreading. More and more area residents are embracing the idea of eliminating hazards from their homes which can become hazards to the environment if their disposal is carried out improperly.
First, the logistics. Those wishing to deliver unneeded medications — prescription or over-the-counter — may do so this week from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Office. Saturday’s hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Drug Take-Back kicked off on Monday.
Why is it a wise idea to participate in such an opportunity, even for those residents who may be disposing only of OTC medications? The reasons are bountiful. Just a few 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 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 waste-service companies. These discards eventually find their way into the Bradley County Landfil. 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 Too often adults for whom the prescription medication was written are tempted to consume outdated pills months down the road to treat a similar illness that has reoccurred.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 Too often adults succumb to temptation to offer their leftover medications — outdated or otherwise — to friends, family members and loved ones who might be suffering the same illness then or sometime later whether it’s a few days, weeks or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.
Last spring’s Drug Take-Back initiative collected 170 pounds of drugs and medications. Those who participated in April, and especially those who did not, are encouraged to clean out their medicine cabinets in order to rid their homes of these potential toxins.
Additional information about the program may be obtained by contacting the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division at 728-7336.
We urge area residents to participate for the safety of their children, their pets and themselves, and for the protection of our environment.