The Texas Panhandle Poison Center (TPPC) is set to continue an important community program by hosting its 50th Medication Cleanout event from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., April 22, at the TTUHSC-Amarillo campus. The Amarillo Police Department will provide support for the event and Sonic is providing free soft drink coupons.
TPPC celebrates reaching its 50th Medication Cleanout this spring with events in Abilene (March 25), Lubbock (April 8) and Amarillo. The program started in 2009, and prior to the current spring 2017 collection cycle, the events have collectively taken in more than 34,000 pounds of unused, unwanted and expired medications and sharps for proper disposal.
TPPC Managing Director Jeanie Jaramillo-Stametz, Pharm.D., said the collections provide a safe option for disposing of unused medications, thereby reducing the potential for negative environmental impact, poisoning, abuse and the misuse of leftover medicines like antibiotics and pain medications.
“This is also a good opportunity to dispose of medications leftover after the passing of a loved one,” Jaramillo-Stametz said. “People are told not to flush these drugs or throw them in the trash because this may result in contamination of the water supply, but they are not really provided with alternatives. Medication Cleanout gives them a safe and responsible alternative.”
The cost-free event employs a drive-through, drop-off format. Jaramillo-Stametz said medications should be kept in their original containers whenever possible. Event volunteers will black out identifying patient information prior to disposal. Due to environmental and regulatory restrictions, only medications from households can be accepted; medications from clinics, pharmacies and other businesses are not allowed.
Nationally, Jaramillo-Stametz said the use and abuse of heroin and other illicit drugs have been on the rise, and their use often begins with prescription medications, so keeping unsecured, unused medications in the home is a risk. Because addiction can occur very rapidly and can lead to devastating results for the user and his or her family, she said it’s just not worth the risk to hold on to unused medications.
“There are so many teenagers with ready access to prescription medications right in their homes or the homes of their relatives or friends,” she added. “Teens feel that prescription medications are safe to abuse, when nothing could be further from the truth.”
For more information about Medication Cleanout, including volunteer opportunities, please contact TPPC at (806) 414-9495 or visit www.MedicationCleanout.com.