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College Highlighted for Important Community Service

Published on 11 May 2016

St. Louis College of Pharmacy’s campaign to help patients clean out their medicine cabinets received extensive media coverage. For the past six years, the College has partnered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to expand the government’s national initiative to dispose of unwanted medication. This year, the College was featured in reports on KSDK, KMOV, KMOX, KTRS and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Several reporters documented Amy Tiemieier, Pharm.D., BCPS, director of community partnerships and associate professor of pharmacy practice, along with student volunteers, DEA agents, and the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging walking door-to-door at senior housing facilities collecting medication. A report in the Post-Dispatch noted how many residents had unnecessary medication.

“In the elderly population they might have more hospitalizations, more frequent medicine changes, and end up with extras,” commented Tiemeier to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We don’t want them to accidentally take them and be double-dosing.”

During numerous interviews that day, Tiemeier also explained how older adults can become confused by changing medication regiments. That confusion could lead to serious health issues.

“It’s important locally because we want to make sure that we don’t have any expired medications in people’s homes that can be accidentally taken,” Tiemeier told KSDK, the St. Louis NBC affiliate. “We don’t want to have any poisonings.”

She also stressed the importance of safely storing medication, especially opioid pain relievers. Research has shown a strong link between opioid abuse and heroin addiction. Before becoming hooked on heroin, Tiemeier says, many users first start by abusing pain medication stolen from the medicine cabinets of friends and relatives.

“If you’re not keeping close count on those pills, sneaking out one or two pills can go unnoticed,” Tiemeier commented to KMOX radio. “There’s a lot of different places they can get it, but we do know that one of the places is the medicine cabinet. So, grandma and grandpa, or they might go to a friend’s house.”

At each interview, Tiemeier pointed out the importance of the take-back initiative as well as year-round resources available in the St. Louis area.

“There are also quite a few permanent drop boxes in police precincts around the area,” Tiemeier told John Carney on KTRS.

Listen to the complete KTRS Interview.

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