While they can carry the potential for abuse, prescription drugs have helped countless individuals throughout the world. When used as directed by the prescribing physician, these substances can reduce or remove pain, providing critical relief in times of healing.
However, these drugs have a darker side as well, especially those that have habit-forming properties. In light of the current opioid abuse crisis being felt throughout the United States, many Tennessee communities are working to find ways to limit access to medications that carry the potential for abuse, and new initiatives, such as drug take-back programs, are popping up across the country.
Safe Disposal, a New Alternative
In the past, it was commonplace to simply toss old or unwanted medications in the trash or flush them down the toilet or drain. But today, environmental and health officials caution against this practice, citing the damage to the water supply and ease of access for individuals who are seeking these substances for illicit means as unfortunate consequences.
In order to provide a safer alternative for disposing of prescription medications, Walgreens drugstores in areas such as Memphis, Tennessee will now offer drug take-back kiosks that allow for the anonymous disposal of would-be substances of abuse. It is believed that by removing these drugs from the home, there will be less likelihood that residents will become dependent upon them or use them outside of their doctor’s recommended guidelines.
Additionally, many communities in Tennessee and throughout the country are participating in National Drug Take-Back Day each October. This event is designed to increase the public’s awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and highlight local resources for the safe disposal of these substances. For example, residents of Shelby County can visit the following locations to utilize free, permanent drug-take back services:
- Sevierville Police Department at 300 Gary Wade Boulevard in Sevierville, Tennessee (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
- Shelby County Sheriff Department 993 Dovecrest Road in Memphis, Tennessee (open 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday – Friday)
The Importance of Treatment
It is hoped that by raising awareness of the perils of prescription drug abuse, and by providing safe, anonymous options for disposing of unwanted medications, that fewer Tennesseans will fall victim to addictions to these dangerous substances.
However, given the high rates of opioid abuse being seen nationwide, it is equally important that men and women who have already developed a chemical dependence have access to quality treatment for substance abuse. Fortunately, there are such options for care in Shelby County and throughout Tennessee where individuals can acquire the support they need to begin the journey to recovery.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with a prescription drug addiction, know that help is available. Begin researching treatment centers in your community, and contact them to find out how they can assist you in reclaiming the healthy, substance-free life you deserve.