Photo and story by Sabrina Tyson / Contributing Writer
Middle Tennessee State University participated in a Drug Take Back Day on Thursday, allowing local residents and students to safely dispose of any of their old prescription medication. The event was sponsored by Rutherford County’s Drug Enforcement Administration and hosted by MTSU Health Promotions and the MTSU Police Department. The drop-off station was located outside of the Campus Recreation Center.
Drug Take Back Day is a nationwide event that different cities across the country take part in to give people a safe and convenient way to dispose of any old prescription or over-the-counter medications.
“Most people don’t know the correct way to dispose of their medications,” said Sara Adams, a 4th-year graduate student at the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy and MTSU alumna. ”So, this just gives them an easy way to bring your medications to us, and we’ll handle the rest of it.”
The event is done to help prevent the misuse of prescriptions drugs in the wake of the current Opioid crisis. This crisis was declared a public health emergency by President Trump the day of the take-back event with overdose now being the leading cause of death in people under the age of 50. At 64,000 deaths, drug overdoses in 2016 have killed more people than HIV in 1995 and car crashes in 1972, the years of their respective highest death tolls, according to The New York Times.
This year in Tennessee alone, there have been 1,613 deaths from overdose, which is almost an eight percent increase from the previous year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MTSU, in particular, sees mostly Adderall, Xanax and Valium abuse, according to Adam Wortman, an MTSU Police officer and specialist for community-oriented policing services at MTSU.
“It helps by getting drugs that could possibly be abused by people who weren’t prescribed them and taking them off the streets,” Wortman said.
Tabby Ragland, the director of the pharmacy at MTSU Health Services, said that she mostly sees faculty and staff dropping off prescriptions because “they have older parents or older prescriptions they aren’t taking anymore.”
During the event, the medicine was sorted into three different bins: over the counter, prescription and controlled prescription. The medicine was then weighed at the end of the event and given to the MTSU Police, who pass it on to the DEA office for disposal.
The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office has a bin for drug disposal that is accessible all days of the year.
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