Photo and story by Taylor Blanch / Contributing Writer
Middle Tennessee State University’s Health Services and Pharmacy hosted their bi-annual “Drug Take Back Day” event outside of the Recreation Center on Tuesday.
The event occurs once each semester and encourages students and Murfreesboro residents to bring in and safely dispose of any unused medicines they may have around their homes.
MTSU’s Director of Health Promotion Lisa Schrader believes that the event offers a safe alternative to getting rid of drugs and can prevent drug use.
“We know that in Tennessee, especially right now, there’s an ongoing issue with the misuse of prescription medication,” Schrader said. “In many cases, people get started with those (issues) because they use someone else’s (medication) that they’ve taken from a medicine cabinet at home or from a friend. By getting rid of medicines when you’re no longer needing them, that prevents those types of diversions from taking place.”
Many people do not realize the harmful effects that could come with keeping drugs or disposing of them in an incorrect way.
According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, conducted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs, most of which were obtained from friends and family.
“It’s important that people are even aware that this is an option for them,” said Wisdom Onyegbule, a fourth-year pharmacy student at Lipscomb University who helped work the event. “We’re keeping kids away from them. We’re keeping animals from getting to them. And we’re keeping it out of our sewer system and from getting into our food and drinking water.”
Campus police take all of the drugs collected at the event and turn them directly over to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Student and resident turnout for the event has increased in recent years because Health Services has decided to host the event outside in a drive-thru fashion., making it more convenient for people to drop off their products and a lot easier to see from the road.
MTSU’s take back events generally coincide with the city of Murfreesboro’s, and the two entities have a friendly competition to see who can bring in more drugs each year.
During their fall event, MTSU took in 77 pounds of drugs from the people of Murfreesboro, and yesterday, for their spring collection, the university took in 106.8 pounds of drugs and medications.
“I just feel like we’re keeping the community safe here,” Onyegbule said.
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