ETSU hosting Drug Take Back event April 18

Published 9:19 am Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Student pharmacists at East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy are helping remove outdated and unneeded prescription medications as part of an upcoming Drug Take Back Day on ETSU’s main campus on Thursday, April 18, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The event takes place in parking lot 22C across from the soccer field. 

The safe medication drop-off will allow the public to dispose of prescription medications, helping prevent drug misuse and overdose deaths. Naloxone, a medication that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, will also be available at no cost to participants who request it. 

The college’s American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists Operation Substance Use Disorders (APhA-ASP OSUDs) patient care committee, nationally recognized for their work combating the opioid crisis, is sponsoring the event.  

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All items dropped off will be taken by ETSU Public Safety to be incinerated, including all personal information on prescriptions. 

Accepted medications are: 

– Prescription medications (including Schedule II-V) 

– Patches 

– Ointments
– Pet medications
– Over-the-counter medications
– Vitamins 

Items that are not accepted include: 

– Needles (sharps containers will be given away if you need them for disposal)
– Inhalers
– Thermometers
– Aerosol cans
– Lotions/liquids
– Hydrogen peroxide
Misused controlled prescription drugs are considered a critical public safety and public health issue by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). According to a 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 10 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. 

Partnering with local law enforcement, ETSU Gatton College of Pharmacy has been assisting with Drug Take Back Days since 2009 and continues to help with events multiple times a year throughout the region. 

“This is a great time to remind people to get extra medications out of their house,” said Dr. Sarah Thomason, professor and interim chair of pharmacy practice and adviser for APhA-ASP OSUDs. “Medications stored at home can be a risk for children or pets being accidentally exposed. Also, access to controlled prescriptions in the home can often be a starting point for drug misuse or a substance use disorder.” 

Thomason emphasized how events like these strengthen ETSU Gatton College of Pharmacy’s mission to serve the rural and underserved. 

“Our student pharmacists make it a priority to be in our communities and interact with people from the area to help them clean out their medicine cabinets. This helps our citizens have better safety at home and better management of their medications,” she said. 

In 2023, the ETSU’s APhA-ASP OSUDs committee won the APhA Operation Substance Use Disorders Chapter Achievement Award for 2021-2022, their fifth time earning that honor and marking the 10th consecutive year that the chapter has been recognized either regionally or nationally. ETSU’s chapter is the most nationally recognized SUD APhA-ASP patient care committee in the country.