As you tackle your closets and home for spring cleaning this year, medical experts say don’t forget your medicine cabinet. When old medications are left to collect dust, they become potential sources of poisoning to young children or may be accessed by teens experimenting with drugs. They also are a hazard to adults and elderly as they increase the risk of choosing the wrong bottle or taking medications that are no longer indicated.
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Pharmacy’s Texas Panhandle Poison Center along with the Lubbock County VOICES Coalition and the Texas Department of Public Safety will host a Medication Cleanout™ from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28 at the Texas Tech Physicians Medical Pavilion, 3601 Fourth St.
Jeanie Jaramillo-Stametz, Pharm.D., director of the Texas Panhandle Poison Center, encourages Lubbock and surrounding area residents to clean out their medicine cabinets and bring in any unused, expired or unnecessary medications or sharps for proper disposal.
“Flushing or throwing old medications into the trash may contaminate the environment, pollute our drinking and ground water and harm aquatic creatures,” Jaramillo-Stametz said. “Also, the abuse of prescription medications continues to be an epidemic in the U.S. and often serves as a precursor to heroin use and addiction. Medication Cleanout™ is a proactive approach to safeguard our communities by providing a free and convenient way for people to dispose of these medications in a legal, environmentally sound and convenient manner.”
More than 165,000 people died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids between 1999 and 2014, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Painkillers and other pharmaceuticals play an important medical role, but their abuse can have tragic long-term consequences,” said Jaramillo-Stametz. “The community’s participation in our take back events helps ensure a safe and drug-free environment for our youth.”
Continued use of a drive-thru, drop-off format will allow residents to dispose of their medications with the added convenience of not leaving their cars. Yard signs will be posted along Fourth St. to help locate the drive through path. Medications should be in their original containers. To date, more than 44,000 pounds of unneeded medicine and sharps have been disposed of properly through the TTUHSC Medication Cleanout™ program. These medicines are no longer a threat for poisoning, abuse, misuse or environmental contamination. Because of environmental restrictions, only medications from households can be accepted. Loads of medications from clinics, pharmacies and other businesses are not allowed.
The Medication Cleanout™ is a TTUHSC School of Pharmacy initiative and is partially sponsored by the Lubbock County VOICES Coalition and the Texas Department of Public Safety with support from the TTUHSC School of Medicine. For more information about the Medication Cleanout™, call (806) 414-9495 or visit www.MedicationCleanout.com.