Medication bin at sheriff’s office keep drugs away from abusers

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By Damon Lawrence

Roane Countians no longer have to wait for a drug take-back event to dispose of outdated and unwanted prescriptions or over the counter medicines.

A Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation collection bin is located at the Roane County Sheriff’s Office.

“This joint effort is designed to educate citizens on the importance of appropriate disposal of pharmaceuticals, while increasing the number of locations for them to do so,” TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau said in a prepared statement.

The bin, which looks like a big mailbox, is part of TDEC’s Pharmaceutical Collection Program. Roane County has one of only 23 bins in the state.

“A lot of our teens are getting their parents’ and grandparents’ old medication and experimenting with it and things like that,” Sheriff Jack Stockton said. “I thought it would be a good idea if we had a place where people could dispose of it.”

The bin is in the lobby of the sheriff’s office at 230 N. Third St., Kingston.

Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“It’s better to drop it off during business hours,” Stockton said. “It’s more convenient.”

Stockton said he thought about keeping the bin outside, but he was afraid somebody might try to hook a chain to it and drive off with it.

In addition to keeping old and unwanted prescriptions out of the hands of teens, the collection bins are also good for the environment, according to TDEC.

“Monitoring across the nation has indicated the presence of pharmaceuticals in our surface water and waste water,” Martineau said. “TDEC is pleased to present these new permanent collection drop-off boxes, offering a safe and viable disposal option to keep drugs out of our water and off the streets.”

TDEC said counties have to go through an approval process to get a bin.

The process includes completing an application, sending a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration and receiving approval from TDEC’s Office of Sustainable Practices.