The Cumberland County Sheriff Department and the Cumberland Medical Center Wellness Complexes at Crossville and Fairfield Glade are cooperating again this year to collect out-of-date prescriptions, unneeded over-the-counter medications, vitamins and other pharmaceutical products for safe disposal.
“Last year, we collected a total of 531 pounds of unused drugs from Crossville and Fairfield Glade residents, keeping a huge supply of trouble out of the hands of drug-addicted individuals. This also prevented burglaries where drugs for criminal resale were the object,” said Casey Cox, chief investigator for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department.
The second year for this event will again feature a drive-up process in front of the Wellness Complex at Fairfield Glade from 8 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 24. A similar drive-up, drop-off will be from 2 to 5 p.m. in front of the Wellness Complex at Crossville.
The front desk personnel at the Fairfield and Crossville Complexes cannot accept drugs. Only an authorized law enforcement officer can take possession of them.
The Fairfield Glade Wellness Complex at 130 Stonehenge Dr. currently has a large new construction zone. So it is important to follow signs to the drop-off location. Look for a Sheriff’s police vehicle parked nearby.
The Crossville Wellness Complex’s drop-off will be in front of the facility at 130 Woodmere Mall on Hwy. 127.
“We are concentrating on out-of-date and unneeded prescription drugs because they are the most widely abused nationwide and Tennessee ranks second on the list in the United States," Cox said.
“Getting unnecessary pills and products out of homes helps to discourage drug-addicted individuals from committing burglaries. Individuals who steal something like oxycodone can make huge amounts of money in resale. The damage it does for someone who is mixing their drugs on a regular basis is extremely serious. There is hope that our collection program can prevent a big part of that mess,” he added.
Cox will turn over the drugs to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office in Nashville for disposal. The Nashville office is part of the Atlanta Regional DEA.
Out-of-date prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and other pharmaceuticals are incinerated. Cumberland Medical Center takes syringes and items that need sterile disposal. All plastic containers are recycled.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA, a 2010 study showed enough prescription painkillers were prescribed that year to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month. A National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2010 showed more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of persons using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin and inhalants combined.
Some Tennessee-related statistics show:
•Eighty percent of all crimes are drug-related.
•In 2010 prescription drugs were the most commonly cited drugs among drug treatment admissions in Tennessee.
•Tennessee ranked first in 2007 and now ranks second among all states in 2012 for prescription drug abuse.
•Tennessee drug-related deaths are higher than firearm deaths.
•Tennessee drug-related deaths are 25 percent higher than the national average.