Police collect old medication in nationwide drug drop-off

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - It's not something you hear about every day, a pharmacist asking you to give back your prescription medication.

Nationwide, that was the case Saturday. Several area police departments were collecting unwanted or expired medication to dispose of the right way.

We stopped at one drug take back event in our region and learned it keeps drugs out of the wrong hands and also out of mother nature.

No matter where you live police in Bristol, Virginia, Sullivan County, even Johnson City police wanted you to clean out your medicine cabinet.

At the drive-thru set up outside of the Johnson City Police Department, everything from cough syrup, to prescription pain pills, to pet medication was collected.

How much you might be asking, we learned a whopping 85-pounds of drugs. "It's a better way than flushing it because there are a lot of chemicals that are in the medicine that can't be taken care of at the water treatment plant," said Michael Hubbard dropping off medicine.

All of this old, unwanted, or expired medication will be thrown away the right way. "Bring them [medication] to us, we will dispose of them through incineration," said pharmacist Dr. Jeff Gray.

Turning in these old medications helps keep you and your family healthier. "In many cases accidents that happen in the home from accidental poisonings as well as diversions that take place for controlled substances from a friend or family member," added Dr. Gray.

Some people, like Jeremy Hodge, say they're simply dropping off medication so it stays out of the wrong hands, "I have three small children and I don't want innocent children getting a hold of it."

Police say drug take back events keep the streets safer. "We've had a lot of people break into a home to steal medications and it just eliminates part of the target for somebody to go after," said Officer Terry Hardin.

You could call it old fashioned spring cleaning with a twist, but the goal is a simple one. "It just gets the drugs out of the picture," added Officer Hardin.

If you missed Saturday's event several Police and Sheriff's Departments in our region have permanent drop-off boxes in place year round.

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