Knoxville Airmen partner with DEA to combat opioid crisis

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Melissa Dearstone
  • 134th Air Refueling Wing

    The 134th Security Forces Squadron is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Agency, Knoxville office, to host Operation Take-Back, Oct. 14.

Operation Take-Back is a program that collects and safely disposes of expired or unused prescription medications from anyone in the community who has base access.

    “The initiative aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for prescription drug abuse,” said Lt. Col. Artis Douglass, 134th SFS commander.

In 2017 there were 6,879,698 painkiller prescriptions written in Tennessee, which is more than the whole state population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state ranked in the top five of highest number of opioid prescriptions written.  

      “Eliminating the threat of prescription medications that are expired or not required from Airmen’s homes, can help us get closer to a drug- free force,” said Lt. Col. Gilbert Harvey, chief of the Drug Demand Reduction Program for the Air National Guard. Harvey said Airmen can also acquire free prepaid drug Take Away bags available year round at their base medical groups. In addition to the Take Away bags, there are also many local take away events and permanent locations in all communities that can be found on the website.

   According to the CDC, it will take hospital emergency departments, health departments, mental health and treatment providers, law enforcement and local communities all working together to get people the help they need and work to prevent opioid over dose and death.

Operation Take-Back will be located at the McGhee Tyson ANGB Base Exchange from 1000hrs-1500hrs. For more information contact 134th SFS at 336-6212.