Impact of an Organized Marketing Campaign on Drug Take Back Event Outcomes in South Central Appalachia

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Background: Prescription drug abuse is a major public health concern in the United States, associated with dramatic increases in morbidity and mortality over the past two decades. In recent years, disposal of unwanted, unused, and expired medications has been a pillar of national prevention efforts. Acknowledging increased policy and advocacy emphasis on improving prescription drug disposal behaviors of consumers, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the impacts of a targeted promotional campaign on participation in community-based drug take back events (TBE) in NE Tennessee. Methods: Between October 2013 and October 2017, 45 drug take-back events were held in 5 municipalities across NE Tennessee. A region-wide, promotional campaign including direct to consumer advertising (television, print, radio, etc) initiated spring 2014. Two methods of data collection were implemented: 1) donor surveys; and 2) drug donation weights (pounds) and dosage units collected. Controlled substance (CS) donations with identifiable dispensing dates were used to calculate donors’ possession time in months. One-way ANOVA, paired t-tests, and chi-square procedures were utilized to assess trends in donation weights, time to donation, and donor characteristics across the study period. Results: Total Disposal donations increased by 2.35 times (CS 2.61 times) from baseline after the initial promotional campaign. A total of 2300 CS donations were collected, with a spike in total pounds collected observed in spring of 2014 following initial marketing interventions. Donor possession time hdecreased by approximately one year during the length of the study (62.01 to 50.5 months). More than 1500 donor surveys were administered during the study. Half of all participants reported hearing about TBE through television promotions. Participants at urban events were 52.6% more likely than rural participants to hear about the event through newspaper promotion. Conclusion: Collaborative marketing across a TBE concentrated region increases CS disposal weight and decreases donor possession time.


San Diego, CA

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