An important community program started by the Texas Panhandle Poison Center (TPPC) in 2009 will continue in March when the TPPC begins its three-stop spring Medication Cleanout cycle. The biannual collection will get underway March 24 at the TTUHSC Amarillo campus. Additional Medication Cleanout collections are scheduled for April 14 in Abilene and April 28 in Lubbock. The Lubbock date coincides with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Medication Take Back Day.
Medication collection at each event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. However, volunteers are also needed to help set up prior to the collection and to continue logging medications after collection ends. TPPC Managing Director Jeanie Jaramillo-Stametz, Pharm.D., said shifts are generally scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. and from 1:45 to 5:45 p.m. Volunteers can sign up for one shift or both.
“Medication Cleanout cannot function without the assistance of volunteers, especially TTUHSC students, faculty and staff,” Jaramillo-Stametz stressed. “As always, we really need your help, so please consider participating as a volunteer.”
Training for volunteers is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the Friday before each collection at the Amarillo, Abilene and Lubbock campuses. Jaramillo-Stametz said training is mandatory for all volunteers who have not previously participated.
“We strongly encourage even those who have volunteered before to attend the training,” Jaramillo-Stametz said. “For those who have not volunteered before, Medication Cleanout events are a lot of fun and a great learning and community service experience. You will see firsthand the unbelievable effect of non-adherence, overprescribing and over-marketing. And, the community participants are so grateful for the opportunity to properly dispose of their medications.”
To date, TPPC has conducted 53 Medication Cleanout collections that have resulted in the appropriate disposal of 41,496 pounds of unused or unwanted medications and medical sharps. Jaramillo-Stametz said the events help to reduce accidental poisonings and medication misuse and drug abuse. She said the collections are also a good opportunity for families who have had a loved one pass away to safely dispose of leftover medications.