COOKEVILLE – One big way to prevent drug misuse is to dispose of unused or expired prescriptions properly.
That’s easy to do now with a prescription drug drop-off box located in the lobby of the Tennessee Tech University Police Department.
“(Tennessee Tech) health services had been getting a lot of expired prescriptions, which they had to send to the Cookeville Police Department to dispose of,” Sarah Blessing with the Power of Putnam said. “So I started talking with the powers-that-be here to get a drop-off box on campus.
In addition to the Cookeville Police Department, other boxes are in Algood City Hall, Monterey Police Department and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department.
“It has to be in a place that is accessible 24 hours a day, so law enforcement areas make the most sense,” Blessing said.
College campuses are not immune to the drug problem. Fortunately, it’s not an issue that TTU police deal with frequently.
“Mostly we deal with marijuana possession, but we have very few cases of those with narcotics,” he said.
“More than 50 percent of people who have misused drugs said they got them from family members,” Blessing said.
Many are unused or expired prescriptions that have been sitting around the bathroom.
“There are two drug take back events that are held each year,” Blessing said. “We collected 1,000 pounds of drugs during those events in the past year.”
Items that can be placed in the drop-off box include prescription medication, any over-the-counter medications, pet medications, medicated ointment, lotions or drops, liquid medications in leak-proof containers, inhalers and pills in any packages, including glass, plastic containers, baggies or foil.
“Anytime we can partner with the community to keep opioids and drugs off the streets, we’ll do it,” Nelson said. “I think this will be a good partnership.”