Over 16,000 Pounds Collected in Record-setting Effort to Dispose of Medication

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Rain didn’t deter anyone in St. Louis looking to safely dispose of unwanted and expired medication at this year’s St. Louis Medication Disposal Initiative on April 27. A record 16,311 pounds of medication from the metropolitan area was discarded as part of the effort.

St. Louis College of Pharmacy, the city of St. Louis, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) partnered to safely dispose of unwanted medication. During the week of April 22, STLCOP students and faculty, DEA agents, and city officials reached out to the community. Disposal events were held at churches, community centers, and senior housing facilities.

This year’s initiative emphasized disposing of unused prescription pain medications.

“Medication abuse often starts with teens stealing from the homes of family and friends,” says Amy Tiemeier, Pharm.D., assistant professor and director of professional affairs at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. “Unfortunately, prescription pain medications act as a gateway to narcotics like heroin or cocaine. Removing unwanted medications from your home helps protect not only your family, but also the entire community.”

There were 97 disposal locations in the metropolitan area, including four at Walgreens in the city of St. Louis. Nearly 800 pounds of medication was turned in at those four sites.

This year’s metro-wide collection of 16,311 pounds is a 30 percent increase over last year. In the three years the Medication Disposal Initiative has been underway, the DEA has collected more than 52,000 pounds of unwanted medication in the St. Louis area. This year, the DEA collected 742,497 pounds of medication across the country.

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