Family-owned pharmacy bears cost of drug-take back boxes

Posted at 7:26 PM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 20:58:54-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For a long-running, family-owned business in Dickson County, the pharmacists at Dickson Apothecary said they do not mind paying for a resource that would help keep the community safe.

Drug-take back boxes are aimed to prevent prescription and over-the-counter drugs off the hands of young people or being poured down into waterways.

In Tennessee, there are 334 boxes, primarily at sheriffs offices and police departments. There are 71 pharmacies that carry the box, but not all are independent like Dickson Apothecary.

"We think it's important and we are here to serve our community," Dr. Leslie Shepard of Dickson Apothecary told NewsChannel 5.

The facility has had its large, blue box bolted to the ground since the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) allowed pharmacies to carry one four years ago.

Shepard said her pharmacy last collected 49 pounds of bottles and pills. Every time the box needs to be replaced, it costs the pharmacy money.

There's a fee based on how often it is emptied out, which is at least 125 dollars, according to Shepard.

The more people use it, the more they have to pay to keep it. However, it's a cost this pharmacy is willing to spend.

"We are more concerned about the health and safety of our patients and our community than we are about cost to us," Shepard added. "That's a cost that our pharmacy and other pharmacists here decided was worth while to allow our patients and community patients to have a place to safely dispose of old, unused, or expired medication."

A state spokesperson said there is a large number of partners involved in the work to place prescription drug take back boxes including TDMHSAS, TN Department of Health, TN Department of Environment and Conservation, local law enforcement, pharmacies, and community anti-drug coalitions.

To learn how to find a drug-take back box, click on this link.