Door-to-Door Medication Take Back Events Serve Seniors Across St. Louis
Published on 07 May 2019
In advance of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 27, faculty and students from St. Louis College of Pharmacy and DEA representatives visited senior living communities across the city of St. Louis to help residents clear out their medicine cabinets.
The door-to-door medication take back events gave residents the opportunity to dispose of their unused and expired medications. Six collection events were held April 22-26 prior to National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
“When medications are no longer needed, it’s important for individuals to dispose of them promptly and properly so that they don’t become susceptible to diversion, misuse or abuse,” said Amy Tiemeier, Pharm.D., BCPS, director of community partnerships and associate director of experiential education and associate professor of pharmacy practice at the College. “Our goal with our door-to-door events is to help area seniors, who aren’t able to bring their medications to the DEA’s Drug Take Back Day event, safely remove expired, unwanted or unused medicines from their homes.”
This year marked the eighth 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. These efforts combined with the community’s efforts to drop off medications during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 27 resulted in the collection of more than 18,000 pounds of medications in the St. Louis metro area. Since the start of the College’s partnership with the DEA in 2011, more than 70 tons of medications have been collected during the DEA’s spring national take back day events in the St. Louis area, and community awareness about the importance of proper medication disposal has been steadily on the rise.
“Leftover medications can be a significant concern among older adults because many seniors have medical conditions that require their medications to be changed before their existing supply is used,” noted Tiemeier. “Through our door-to-door take back events, we’re able to help seniors dispose of the medications they don’t need, while also having the opportunity to talk one-on-one with them about proper medication disposal and why it’s so critical.”
Across the St. Louis area, the public can utilize more than four dozen permanent medication disposal boxes. For a list of permanent disposal sites, visit stlcop.edu/community/meddisposal/.
“From prescription drug addiction and overdoses to accidental poisonings, medications left in the home medicine cabinet can pose significant health risks for all members of the community,” said Tiemeier. “Additional safety hazards exist when prescriptions are flushed into the water supply or placed into the trash. Proper medication disposal is a year-round effort that requires the ongoing support of the community.”