Program aims to crack down on prescription drug problem

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – So far in 2016, police said there have been seven deaths in Clarksville due to accidental prescription drug overdoses.

News 2 spoke with Captain Craig Gibson, head of the Special Operations Units for Clarksville police, who has gathered information about prescription drug use across the state. He told News 2 the findings are very concerning.

“Seven point eight prescriptions were issued in 2015,” he said. “That is one for every 1.8 man, woman and child in Tennessee,” he said.

In an effort to combat prescription drug abuse in Middle Tennessee, police have now teamed up with the Count it, Lock it, Drop it program.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

It’s aimed to get the word out on the dangers of prescription drug abuse and provide a location to safely drop off old or unused medications.

Since beginning, officers have visited more than 30 pharmacies in Clarksville to educate pharmacists about the program, hoping they will tell their clients how to safely drop off medications.

Sango Pharmacy was among the stops. Pharmacist Catherine Meeks told News 2 she gladly joined in the effort and is now displaying information in her pharmacy on safe prescription medication drop-off sites.

She said it is concerning how many people incorrectly dispose of their prescription medications.

“I hear patients all the time telling me they just dump their medications in the trash,” she said. “You don’t want for one, any type of controlled substance or medication to get into the wrong hands.

Even if they are not pain medications that can still be very dangerous for pets, for small children even for adults.”

About Count It, Lock It, Drop It:

Anyone can take their medications to one of three drop box locations including:

Lobby of District 1 Criminal Investigations
1885A Fort Campbell Boulevard (next to Baskin Robins)-until the new District 1 precinct opens at 211 Cunningham Lane later in the month.

Lobby of District 3 Criminal Investigations
1584 Vista Lane

Lobby of Police Headquarters
135 Commerce Street.
Each of the locations are open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Acceptable Items include:

  • Prescription medications
  • All over-the-counter medicines
  • Pet medications
  • Medicated ointments, lotions or drops
  • Liquid medications in leak proof containers
  • Pills in plastic containers, baggies or foil

Unacceptable Items include:

  • Illegal drugs or narcotics
  • Needles or syringes with needles
  • Blood sugar equipment
  • Thermometers
  • IV bags
  • Bloody or infectious waste
  • Personal care products including shampoo and lotions

Clarksville police also offer these three steps to keep your family safe when it comes to prescription drugs:

1. Count it: Count your pills every two weeks to prevent theft and ensure medications are taken properly.
2. Lock it: Lock up your medications and store them in a place others would not think to look.
3. Drop it: Drop off unused or expired medications at participating law enforcement departments or pharmacy locations for proper disposal.