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KPD Officer Craig McNew Honored for Leadership in Safe Disposal of Unwanted Medications 

From left: Scott Payne, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Drug Coalition; KPD Officer Craig McNew; and Webster Bailey, Executive Director of Business Development and Outreach at Cornerstone of Recovery
From left: Scott Payne, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Drug Coalition; KPD Officer Craig McNew; and Webster Bailey, Executive Director of Business Development and Outreach at Cornerstone of Recovery

Knoxville Police Department Officer Craig McNew was recently recognized with a Community Champion Award by the Metropolitan Drug Coalition.

Officer McNew was honored with the Innovations in Substance Abuse Prevention Award for helping to implement a groundbreaking prevention project to promote safe disposal of unwanted medications. 

In 2008, Officer McNew partnered with the City and Knox County Solid Waste Offices, Knox County Health Department, and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The goal: Providing citizens a safe and responsible way to get rid of expired, unused and unwanted medications.

Drugs that are not disposed of properly can end up in the wrong places - in the hands of children or addicted individuals, for example, or flushed down the drain and ultimately ending up in creeks and rivers with detrimental impacts to water quality and aquatic life.

Officer McNew led a task force to develop a solution for proper collection and disposal – the first of its kind in the Southeast. Officer McNew’s expertise was essential to answer the many legal issues and policy development associated with collecting drugs. When initiated, it was one of very few programs that accepted both over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Under the leadership of Officer McNew, this innovative program is now a model for many other communities in the region as well as in some cities in other states; McNew and his collaborators now host quarterly collection events, and there's a permanent drop box collection point at the Knoxville Police Department, 800 Howard Baker Jr. Ave.

"Officer McNew's efforts have brought an awareness of the dangers of unused/unwanted drugs to the general public and helps get the drugs off the streets," said Police Chief David Rausch.

Since the start of the program in November 2008, more than 8.65 tons of unwanted drugs, medications and personal care products have been collected and properly disposed of. Through the program, 2.66 tons of packaging has been recycled and 1,702 mercury thermometers have been properly recycled. 

In addition to citizen response, local organizations have recognized its importance and joined to support the program. These include the Metropolitan Drug Commission, KUB, Hallsdale-Powell Utility District, Quality Rx Returns,  pharmacies such as Walgreens, media outlets such as WBIR and WUOT, and the UT Student Pharmacy Association. 

"Officer McNew’s ability to bring together multi-governmental departments, nonprofit groups, and private organizations with shared duties, funding, personnel, support and equipment is an outstanding example for other groups to follow,” said  John Homa, recently retired City solid waste project manager for 17 years. "Under Officer McNew's watch, the task force has received the 2010 Governor’s Environmental Award for Excellence in Solid Waste Reduction."

Meanwhile, the next medication collection event will be held in the West Town mall parking lot on April 23, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.medicationcollection.org/


Posted by evreeland On 11 March, 2016 at 4:12 PM