The Texas Panhandle Poison Center (TPPC) announced dates for its annual three-stop spring Medication Cleanout cycle. The biannual collection will get underway March 23 at the TTUHSC Amarillo campus, with additional Medication Cleanout collections scheduled for April 13 in Abilene and April 27 in Lubbock. The Lubbock date coincides with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Medication Take Back Day.
The spring series of collections marks the program’s 10-year anniversary and 60th Medication Cleanout event. Since the effort began, TPPC, which is hosted by the TTUHSC School of Pharmacy, has collected approximately 45,200 pounds of medications and 2,986.5 pounds of sharps for proper disposal.
“It’s kind of interesting, but when we started this in 2009, we thought it would be temporary—that people would clean out their medicine cabinets and then we’d no longer be needed,” TPPC Managing Director Jeanie Jaramillo-Stametz, Pharm.D., said. “But as we’ve learned, people continue to accumulate these medications and continue to have a need for disposal.”
Jaramillo-Stametz said the events help to reduce accidental poisonings, medication misuse and drug abuse. She said the collections also are a good opportunity for families who have had a loved one pass away to safely dispose of leftover medications.
Medication collection at each event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. However, volunteers also are needed to help set up prior to the collection and to continue logging medications after collection ends. Jaramillo-Stametz said shifts are generally scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 1 to 5 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.”