The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation will sponsor drug take-back locations to collect unwanted and unneeded prescription drugs April 29. (Photo: MGNOnline)

Tennessee residents are invited to bring their unused or expired medications to one of more than 100 National Drug Take-Back events being held statewide April 29. 

The 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. events aim to provide safe, convenient locations to dispose of prescription drugs and other medications, and to raise awareness about the potential risks for abuse and misuse of certain medications, such as opioids, according to a news release.

“It’s important to get rid of old or unused drugs,” BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrea Willis said in a prepared statement. “Prescription opioid abuse is a serious public health issue, and more than half of Tennesseans who use prescription painkillers recreationally say they got them from friends and family.”

This year, more drug take-back sites are available in Tennessee than before, thanks in part to the efforts of the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation-sponsored Count It! Lock It! Drop It! program, which has helped place secure, permanent drop boxes in all 95 counties, according to the news release.

“These biannual events offer a convenient and safe way for individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones from potential and unintentional harm,” Count It! Lock It! Drop It! co-developer Kristina Clark said in a prepared statement. “It’s worth it to take a few minutes to search through medicine cabinets or other storage places and bring unneeded drugs to a Drug Take-Back Day event.”

The Count It! Lock It! Drop It! program expanded statewide in 2016 with a $1.3 million grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation. It is a comprehensive community program for prescription drug abuse prevention that began in Coffee County. Today, Count It! Lock It! Drop It! is actively represented in 44 counties across Tennessee.

Count It! Lock It! Drop It! encourages community members to count pills every two weeks to monitor theft and help ensure medications are taken properly, lock and store them in a secure place where others would not think to look, and take unused or expired medications to drop boxes located in participating law enforcement offices or pharmacies (or during take-back events), according to the news release.

For more information about Count It! Lock It! Drop It! or to find a drug take-back location, click here.