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Opioid Abuse in Tennessee

Opioid abuse is one of the state’s most concerning public health issues. Unintentional overuse and abuse has had devastating effects on individuals and communities:

  • Deaths in Tennessee from prescription painkiller overdose rose to a record-setting 1,263 in 2014, surpassing  the number killed in car accidents
  • Babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome due to opiate use rose 9% from 2013 to 2014

While 64 percent of Tennesseans report knowing someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers, many don’t associate the risk of abuse with medications in their own homes.

Tackling the Problem Through Safe Medication Storage and Disposal

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation is working to reduce prescription pain medication abuse by supporting expansion of “Count It! Lock It! Drop It!” programs in Tennessee counties with the highest incidence of opioid abuse.

The program educates individuals and works with health care providers and pharmacies to support patient education on securing and safely disposing of medications. The program encourages individuals to:

  • Count It! Count pills once every two weeks to monitor theft and ensure medications are taken properly
  • Lock It! Lock and store them in a secure place where others would not think to look
  • Drop It! Take unused or expired medications to drop boxes located in participating law enforcement offices or pharmacies or to turn prescriptions in during take-back events

Providing a Link for Patients

Count It! Lock It! Drop It! currently operates in 33 counties. Drop-boxes are already located in law enforcement facilities in all 95 Tennessee counties to safely dispose of unused or expired medication.

Health care providers can use resources on the Count It! Drop It! Lock It! website to:

  • Help patients understand how to safeguard medications
  • Encourage patients to safely dispose of unused or expired medications
  • Educate patients about community resources for safe disposal and drug take-back events

For more information on Count it! Lock it! Drop It! collection sites and resources, visit: countitlockitdropit.org.

Count it! Lock it! Drop It! Provider Flier