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Kingsport town hall to address substance abuse; drug take-back set for Saturday

Staff report • Apr 22, 2019 at 3:15 PM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Police Department is inviting the public to a town hall, where the goal is opening a dialogue between parents and children regarding drugs and alcohol.

And later this week, people are encouraged to safely dispose of medications during a drug take-back day at Dobyns-Bennett High School.

The first event is set to run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday in the Kingsport Higher Education Center Auditorium, 300 West Market St. According to KPD Public Information Officer Tom Patton, participants will discuss how adults and youths can start a conversation with each other about drugs and alcohol. Along with the KPD, other event sponsors are New Vision Youth, the Sullivan County Anti-Drug Coalition and the United Way of Greater Kingsport.

Police are holding a separate community event on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. In the parking lot in front of D-B, people are asked to drop off their leftover, expired or otherwise unwanted medications.

According to police, the program helps keep drugs off the street, helps prevent overdoses and accidental poisonings and avoids environmental contamination. Drugs that can be accepted include prescription, over the counter, vitamins, herbals, supplements and veterinary medications.

Items that are not accepted include needles or sharps, biohazard materials and illegal drugs.

The U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration sponsors two National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days each year, in April and October. The national events aim to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

The KPD has been participating in the program since 2010. Two years later, the KPD expanded collection by installing a permanent drug collection box in the lobby of the Kingsport Justice Center, located at 200 Shelby St.

The box is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To date, it has collected more than 6 tons of leftover, unwanted, or expired medications. The items were safely incinerated by police.

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