Many people have medicine cabinets containing unneeded and expired drugs they don’t know how to dispose of properly. Too often, these unwanted and potentially dangerous medications end up in the wrong hands, contributing to the accidental poisoning of children and the current U.S. opioid abuse epidemic. Similarly, certain drugs can end up in the wrong place, flushed down the toilet and causing possible environmental harm.
That’s why the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in 2010, an event that Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) will take part in for the first time this spring. On Saturday, April 29, KGI will become a collection site where members of the public can safely, conveniently, and anonymously dispose of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
KGI School of Pharmacy students and representatives of the Claremont Police Department will be on hand between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 535 Watson Drive on the KGI campus in Claremont to receive medications in solid or liquid form. However, no syringes, inhalers, needles, sharps, or mercury thermometers can be accepted.
“This will be a big help to the community. It benefits everyone to have proper disposal of drugs,” says third-year pharmacy student Jesse Perez, who initiated KGI’s participation along with his classmate Juan Antonio Silva.
The two students enlisted their fellow members of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and Student Society of Health System Pharmacists (SSHP) at KGI to help collect medications and direct traffic during the event, which will offer the public a drive-through drop-off option.
These pharmacy students will also staff education booths to provide the public with information about properly storing and disposing of medications, preventing drug abuse and accidental poisoning among children and teens, protecting the environment from pharmaceutical waste, and preventing prescription opioid overdoses. Children’s games will be available to promote awareness about accidental poisoning.
“We’re engaging our student pharmacists on the front lines of educating the community about preventing poisoning or abuse, and we’re teaching them that this is an important way to interact with the community,” says Talia Puzantian, an associate professor of clinical sciences at KGI’s School of Pharmacy who is working with the students to organize the day’s activities.