Faculty and Students Assist with Door-to-Door Medication Take Back Event

Published on 26 April 2018

As the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) prepares to host its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 28, faculty and students from St. Louis College of Pharmacy and DEA representatives visited the Winter Garden Apartments senior living community in St. Louis City on April 24 to help residents clear out their medicine cabinets.

The door-to-door medication take back event gave residents the opportunity to dispose of their unused or expired medications. The stop at Winter Garden Apartments was one of seven collection events being hosted this week by the College and the DEA at senior living facilities across the city of St. Louis prior to National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

“Proper medication disposal is vital to public safety because medications that linger in homes can be susceptible to diversion, misuse or abuse,” said Amy Tiemeier, Pharm.D., BCPS, director, community partnerships and associate director, experiential education and associate professor, pharmacy practice. “Leftover medications can be a significant concern among older adults because many times they have medical conditions that require their medications to be changed before their existing supply is used. Our door-to-door take back events give us the chance to visit seniors in their homes and help them dispose of their unwanted medications safely and properly.”

This year marks the seventh time that the College has partnered with the city of St. Louis and the DEA to host door-to-door medication take back events at area senior facilities. Since 2011, the events have resulted in the collection of thousands of pounds of medications, while also helping to increase community awareness about the importance of proper medication disposal.

“From prescription drug overdoses to accidental poisonings, medications left in the home medicine cabinet can pose significant health risks,” said Tiemeier. “Additional safety hazards exist when prescriptions are flushed into the water supply or placed into the trash. This is why it is so important for members of the community to remain vigilant and remove medications from their homes when they are no longer necessary.”

On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., area residents will have the opportunity to drop off their expired, unwanted or unused prescriptions at various locations across the St. Louis area as part of the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event. Year-round, the public can utilize more than three dozen permanent medication disposal boxes located throughout the St. Louis region.

“With statistics indicating that nearly 67 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids, the opioid crisis has really brought to light the critical need for proper medication disposal,” noted Tiemeier. “We encourage the public to participate in this weekend’s medication take back event, and we also remind them that medication disposal is a year-round effort that requires their ongoing support.”

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