Record Setting Day for St. Louis Medication Disposal Initiative

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In just four hours, medication equal in weight to two small school buses was turned in for proper disposal as part of the St. Louis Medication Disposal Initiative and National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. St. Louis College of Pharmacy, the city of St. Louis and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) worked together to spread awareness about the safe disposal effort. This year’s collection of 17,076 pounds was 730 pounds more than 2013.

“Unused medication should not be left sitting around the house for several reasons,” says Amy Tiemeier, Pharm.D., BCPS, associate professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. “It could be the target of thieves. Medication can also weaken over time, lose effectiveness, and prevent you from reaching your health goals.”

In the week leading up to Saturday’s national take-back day, pharmacists and students from the College and DEA agents went door-to-door at senior living facilities collecting unused and expired medication as well as answering questions from residents. This is the fourth year of the innovative partnership to ensure prescription and over-the-counter medications are properly destroyed.

In addition to take-back day, there are more than 30 permanent drop-boxes accepting medication. Many locations are open around the clock. A complete list can be found at MedDisposal.org. By using disposal days and permanent disposal locations, medication is kept out of the water supply.

“All of us should look at our medications,” Tiemeier says. “If they’re no longer needed, expired, or could be stolen, take them to permanent disposal sites.”

Tiemeier also says because those permanent sites are so prevalent in our area, it is better to drop off unwanted medicine rather than send it down the drain.

“Food and Drug Administration guidelines are focused on removing medication from the home quickly so they can’t be accidentally ingested or abused,” Tiemeier says. “That’s why they recommend putting them down the drain or out in the trash. Our region has many disposal sites. Not all areas of the country are as fortunate. Everyone should take advantage of them.”

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