The nationwide problem of prescription drug abuse has been on a steady rise, impacting individuals and families throughout Tennessee and the rest of the United States. As a result, communities across the country are taking steps to try and put an end to the epidemic.
Count It! Lock It! Drop It! History in Tennessee
In Tennessee specifically, a grassroots program called Count It! Lock It! Drop It! was initiated in 2012 and has since been making a positive impact on citizens of Dickson County and Coffee County, as well as other counties throughout the state.
The Count It! Lock it! Drop It! (CLD) initiative began in Coffee County and was started by Kristina Clark and Christina Merino. Clark, the county’s grant writer and sustainability consultant, and Merino, the executive director of the county’s Anti-Drug Coalition, began the program after being given the task of fighting the county’s drug overdose epidemic.
Count It! Lock It! Drop It! Goals and Accomplishments
The CLD coalition focuses on three essential steps that every individual who is in possession of prescription medications is encouraged to follow.
- The first of these steps (Count it!) notes the importance of counting the number of pills that are present in a container at least once every two weeks to ensure that the appropriate amount is there.
- The second step (Lock it!) involves the distribution of lock boxes to residents so that they can safely secure their prescription medications within their homes.
- The final step (Drop it!) refers to locations that have been set up throughout the counties where individuals can safely and appropriately dispose of any unwanted, unused, or expired medications.
Since its inception, CLD is now active in 33 counties throughout Tennessee. Additionally, the CLD’s official website reported that, in June of 2016, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation issued a grant to expand the program to more counties, focusing on counties that have “high numbers of prescriptions dispensed, overdose deaths, and babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.”
The Tennessean, which is part of the USA Today Network, published an article that was presented by BlueCross BlueShield wherein the positive impact of this program was outlined. The article, which was issued on December 16, 2016, reports the results of a survey that was conducted by the coalition demonstrating the changes that have occurred since the start of this program:
- The number of students who are sharing prescription medications has decreased by 50%.
- The amount of people who are inappropriately consuming prescription medications is 25% lower.
- Eighteen percent more respondents noted that it was harder to obtain prescription medications.
- The amount of people who are locking up their medications has increased from zero to 24%.
- The amount of people who are tracking their medications has increased from zero to 21%.
- The amount of pills that has been collected each month as part of the implementation of drop-off locations has increased from 25 pounds to 100 pounds.
Count It! Lock It! Drop It! Drop-Off Boxes
It is important for treatment centers in Burns and other cities throughout Tennessee to not only be aware of the Count It! Lock It! Drop It! coalition, but also to help make their communities aware of the initiative. The more people who understand and implement the steps set forth by the initiative, the more likely it is that positive change will occur throughout the state as a whole.
For residents of Burns and other cities within Dickson County, drop-off boxes can be found at the following locations:
Dickson Police Department
202 South Main Street
Dickson, TN 37055
Dickson Sheriff’s Department
140 County Jail Road
Charlotte, TN 37036
For residents outside of Dickson County, a drop-off location can be found by consulting the drop box finder feature on the homepage of the CLD’s website.