UPDATE: A total of 146.8 pounds of unwanted or unused medications were collected at the Nov. 14 take-back event.
Drug-related deaths in Anderson County are on the rise. They are up more than 125 percent from 2010 to 2016, according to the Knox County Medical Examiners Office, which also oversees Anderson County.
In 2010, 14 people died from drug-related deaths in Anderson County. In 2016, the number jumped to 32 deaths. Statistics show those deaths are increasingly affecting younger users.
In partnership with WBIR and the Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP), there will be a drug take back day on Tuesday, Nov. 14 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Clinton Police Department.
If you have any unwanted or unused medication, ASAP and their partners want it.
"Monitoring and securing their medication in the home is the first thing they can do to makes sure abuse does not start in their home," said Stephanie Strutner, the director of ASAP.
Strutner said drug take back days are critical for communities fighting the opioid epidemic.
"This opioid epidemic is significant, and it's important and every single person in the community can play a role in the prevention," Strutner said.
If you ask Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarborough about the epidemic, he'll tell you it's only on the rise.
"This problem didn't happen overnight and it won't go away over night," he said.
Scarborough's officers see the epidemic take over lives everyday.
"Now it's switching to heroin, a little bit of heroin and starting to experience heroin deaths," said Vaughn Becker, assistant chief of police for Clinton.
Clinton Police believe programs like drug take back days, when they ask people in the community to clean out their cabinets of medications they don't need, will help fight the epidemic.
"Those drugs are still readily available inside people's households, they can be victims of crime, break ins, etc., and now these family members have a place to take those drugs and get them off the street and get them out of the household, if you will, so they can no longer be a victim," Scarborough added.
ASAP will also soon be supplying the life saving drug Narcan to law enforcement agencies in Anderson County.
"The point is to give that person a second chance to seek treatment for their opioid dependence and addiction," Strutner said.
As law enforcement agencies arm their officers with Narcan, they are also asking the community to step up and help prevent opioids from ending up in the wrong hands.
"We are going to beat this thing. It's going to be through educating each other and passing the word along about special programs we have," Scarborough said.