The Texas Panhandle Poison Center (TPPC) recently announced its fall collection cycle for Medication Cleanout, an important community program TPPC started in 2009. The fall collections will begin Sept. 29 at the TTUHSC campus in Amarillo. Additional Medication Cleanout collections are scheduled for Oct. 13 in Lubbock and Oct. 27 in Abilene. The Abilene event coincides with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s drug take-back day.
Medication Cleanout collections take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. However, TPPC Managing Director Jeanie Jaramillo-Stametz, Pharm.D., said volunteers are also needed to help set up prior to the collection and to continue logging medications after collection ends.
“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.”
Jaramillo-Stametz said shifts are 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. Training is mandatory for all volunteers who have not previously participated and is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the day before the event at each campus.
“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.”
Jaramillo-Stametz said volunteers can see firsthand the effect of non-adherence, overprescribing and over-marketing and experience how grateful the community is for the opportunity to properly dispose of their medications.
“Medication Cleanout also provides us with an opportunity to conduct research regarding unused medications in an anonymous fashion,” Jaramillo-Stametz said. “As the nation works to gain control of the opioid epidemic, we are learning the downstream effects of tighter regulations on substances such as hydrocodone.”
To date, TPPC has conducted 56 Medication Cleanout collections that have resulted in the appropriate disposal of more than 43,000 pounds of unused or unwanted medications and nearly 2,700 pounds of medical sharps.