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Drug Take-Back Boxes Offer Safe Way to Dispose of Medication

KNOXVILLE - Drug take-back boxes all across East Tennessee offer a safe way for people to dispose of unwanted or unused medication.

The Knoxville Police Department collects an average of 75 pounds of pills each week through their medication drop-off box.

"Since 2008, we have collected nearly 24,000 pounds of pills that are no longer wanted or needed in the community," said Knoxville Police Department Public Information Officer Darrell DeBusk. "The drugs are collected each week, the pills are incinerated and the plastic bottles and any paper wrapping, they are recycled. There is nothing that goes back into the community, no pills that go back on to the street."

People with unwanted medication can take their drugs and dispose of them, no questions asked. Many of the locations are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Walgreens has 21 Safe Medication Disposal Kiosks in Tennessee and 600 around the country. The nationwide initiative has yielded 72 tons of product in its first year.

"With all of the problems that we are having with opioid addiction in this area, people don't want those pills in their home," said DeBusk. "So this gives them an opportunity to get rid of those pills.

For a map of take-back locations across the state of Tennessee, click here.

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