Where: Kroger’s and SPD
When: Saturday, April 24, 2021, 10am-2pm
With opioid overdose deaths increasing during the pandemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration announces its 20th Take Back Day is scheduled for April 24. At the last Take Back Day in October 2020, DEA collected a record-high amount of expired, unwanted, and unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs. Over the 10-year span of Take Back Day, DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs. With studies indicating a majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets, clearing out unused medicine is essential.
The Sevierville Police Department will be participating in this national event at two locations in the city from, 10:00 a.m.-2 p.m.:
• Kroger’s, 702 Winfield Dunn Parkway (Highway 66), and
• Sevierville Police Department, 300 Gary Wade Boulevard in the Municipal Campus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 83,544 Americans overdosing during the 12-month period ending July 1, 2020, the most ever recorded in a 12-month period. The increase in drug overdose deaths appeared to begin prior to the COVID-19 health emergency but accelerated significantly during the first months of the pandemic.
“Please help keep your family and our community safe by dropping-off your unwanted pills, capsules, patches and prescription drugs,” said SPD Lieutenant Rebecca Cowan. “For the first time, we will have officers at two locations to better serve our residents.”
DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs. Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs will not be accepted. DEA will continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges at its drop off locations provided lithium batteries are removed.
Helping people dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way DEA is working to reduce addiction and stem overdose deaths.
Contractors will be striping various intersections in the city during the evening and early morning hours beginning tonight, Tuesday, April 13. Weather and other conditions permitting, this work will be completed early Monday morning, April 19.
The work will occur between 8:00 p.m.-6:00 a.m. as scheduled below.
• Parkway @ Five Oaks, Parkway @ New Era Road, Parkway @ Walnut Road/Hicks Drive: Tuesday, 4/13 evening-Wednesday, 4/14 morning.
• Parkway @ Forks of the River Parkway, Parkway @ Prince Street: Wednesday, 4/14 evening-Thursday, 4/15 morning.
• Winfield Dunn Parkway (Hwy. 66) @ West Main Street, Winfield Dunn Parkway (Hwy. 66) @ North Parkway: Thursday, 4/15 evening-Friday, 4/16 morning.
• Veterans Boulevard @ London Lane/Blanton Drive, Veterans Boulevard @ Middle Ridge Road, Veterans Boulevard @ Collier Drive: Sunday, 4/18 evening-Monday, 4/19 morning.
Traffic will be maintained however short term delays are expected.
The City of Sevierville Police Department is celebrating National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, April 11-17. This week is celebrated annually to honor the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to citizens.
SPD employs ten full-time dispatchers whose main duties include dispatching officers to assist the public, answering emergency and non-emergency telephone calls, monitoring police radio channels and entering important information into state and national police databases.
“Our dispatchers are an indispensable component of our agency,” said SPD Chief Joseph Manning. “They provide important information to officers that allows them to perform their jobs well and they are often the first point of contact with people who need immediate help. Put simply, dispatchers are critical to the overall success of delivering quality police services to our residents and visitors.”
Contractors will be performing sidewalk construction on a section of Dolly Parton Parkway that will necessitate a temporary lane closure next week. Beginning Monday, April 12, the right westbound lane of Dolly Parton Parkway between Gary Wade Boulevard and Creek Avenue will be closed on and off throughout the day, beginning at 7:00 a.m.
Weather and other conditions permitting, the work will be completed on Friday, April 16. Short term delays are possible, especially during heavy traffic periods. Please use caution in this area and be alert for slowed or stopped traffic.
In an effort to make our roads safer, the Sevierville Police Department has joined the “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All” campaign to stop distracted driving. During the month of April, SPD has pledged their support to help spread the message that distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but everyone else on the road.
“We all know that talking on our cell phones while driving is distracting, but that doesn’t stop many drivers from continuing to do it,” said SPD Lieutenant Matt Nicol, who is leading the department’s campaign. “This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use and other distractions while driving. We hope that once people see the statistics and realize the danger involved, they will change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families, and others on the road.”
In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. That same year, eleven percent of fatal crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
While anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task of driving is a hazard, there is heightened concern about the risks of texting while driving because it combines all three types of distraction – visual, manual, and cognitive.
The national distracted driving effort focuses on ways to change the behavior of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness, and education – the same activities that have curbed drunk driving and increased seat belt use.
SPD’s campaign will include education through social media posts and increased enforcement throughout the month of April.
“We urge all drivers in Sevierville help in this effort,” said SPD Chief Joseph Manning. “However, we especially want to reach out to parents with teen drivers because we know that statistically, the under-20 age group has the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.”
SPD’s goal with this campaign is simple – save lives by getting drivers to remember that “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.”
For more information about distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov.