College of Pharmacy participates in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

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Pharmacy senior Connor Zheng sorts through and catalogues unused drugs on National Drug Take-Back Day. Pharmacy students teamed up with the DEA to ensure the proper disposal of unused drugs. 

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

The College of Pharmacy and the Forty Acres Pharmacy partnered with UTPD on Saturday to collect expired or unused medications as part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  

From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. outside the Pharmacy Building, students and other members of the Austin community were allowed to return any unused or expired drugs to make sure the medications were disposed of properly. The program reduces the risk of drug misuse and prevents the drugs from being flushed down toilets, which can cause harm to water supplies. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration worked with communities around the country for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Although Saturday marked the first time the University participated in the program, APD has participated in the past.             

Pharmacy professor Carolyn Brown, clinical assistant professor Nathan Pope and pharmacy graduate student Andrew Thach worked with the Green Fee Committee to receive a grant which helped cover costs to bring the event to campus.      

Brown said one of her goals for the event was to show how important it is for older adults to keep track and dispose of unused or expired medications.    

“Through this event, we want to encourage the older adults to come out,” Brown said. “This is to help encourage them to clean out their cabinets and get rid of the medicine they cannot use.” 

Volunteers for the event collected over 90 pounds of medications by the end of the day.

“I feel like this was a good turnout,” Thach said. “It was a good mix of faculty, students and community members that showed up today. One thing that helped us was the advertising we had in The Daily Texan, on Facebook and flyers around campus and at the Forty Acres Pharmacy.”

According to the DEA website, the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act in 2010 paved the way for increasing the amount of medication drop-off sites. Previously, unwanted medications could only be turned into law enforcement. As the DEA continues to make changes to its policies, pharmacies might be able to take back unused or expired medications year-round, which means National Prescription Drug Take-Back may not continue after this year.

In the meantime, Pope said the Forty Acres Pharmacy will continue to work with the DEA to keep the program running.