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Miss Tennessee's Advice on Addiction, which Led to Suicides in Her Family

One of the benefits of being crowned Miss Tennessee is getting the opportunity to select a personal platform to champion. For those of us lucky enough to hold the title, it’s an opportunity to raise awareness about problems and issues, and to ask the people of our great state to be part of the solutions.

When I was named Miss Tennessee in June, there was no doubt that my platform would be to Attack Addiction. For me, it’s extremely personal. It’s extremely important. And it’s a fight that can save lives and keep families from being destroyed.

My family has suffered through three generations of addiction, and my father and half-brother both committed suicide as a direct result of theirs. But I have vowed that the destructive cycle of substance abuse in my family is ending with me.

Count It! Lock It! Drop It! (CLD) is a program supported through a grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation that is gaining traction across the state as people realize those leftover pain pills in their medicine cabinet can be the start of someone else’s addiction if they don’t dispose of them properly.

CLD suggests three simple steps anyone can practice to keep their medications out of the wrong hands.

  • Count your pills at least every two weeks to monitor theft and help ensure medications are taken properly;

  • Lock and store medications in a secure place where others would not think to look; and

  • Drop off unused or expired medications at drop boxes or during take-back even

The ringing in of the new year also rings in the opportunity for a fresh start to make positive changes to last throughout the year and beyond. I hope you’ll join me in the fight against addiction and the opioid epidemic by resolving to count, lock and drop off your medications.

You may think your loved ones won’t steal your pills; but when addiction takes over, an addict will do anything to get their next fix. You have the opportunity to protect your loved ones this year. Making a difference is as easy as locking up and counting your pills and cleaning out your medicine cabinet.

It is up to each and every one of us to do our part to protect our loved ones. I hope you’ll resolve to Count It! Lock It! Drop It! Please, don’t be an accidental drug dealer.

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