Operation Medicine Bottle Oct. 23 at College Square Mall

If you are needing to get rid of over the counter or even more dangerous drugs, then mark Saturday, Oct. 23 on your calendar.

The Hamblen County Substance Abuse Coalition will have its “Operation Medicine Bottle” event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 23 at College Square Mall, Morris Boulevard in Morristown. This is a new location from what was previously announced.

During this time, medications will be collected by the coalition and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Coalition Executive Director Paul Hyde, explained the event’s purpose.

“We’re pretty much taking pills back,” he said. “We’re taking back over the counter medications and controlled or non-controlled substances. Basically, this a diversion operation to try to get the overabundance of opioids off the street to prevent young people from getting pills and others that may be abusing opiates.”

Hyde said that since 2009, the coalition and the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office have destroyed more than $7 million in controlled substances.

“We’ve made a great positive impact through the drug take back diversion program to reduce the amount of drugs that are on the street,” he said. “We have also seen our drug problem change from meth and heroin. In Hamblen County, we are seeing an impact of Fentanyl-laced drugs which is costing the lives of residents.”

According to Hyde, more than one out of four Tennessee homes have substance addiction within the home.

“One of the things that the coalition is doing to impact deaths from Fentanyl is to provide Narcam training and distribution to the public for those who may have family members who are substance abusers or subject to death from Fentanyl,” he said. “The opioid problem is real.”

Liquids or sharps items will not be accepted. For more information, call Hyde or Nora Bromberg at 423-748-7494.

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