More than 100 people came to the University Pharmacy on Sept. 12 for Drug Take-Back Day, where student and faculty volunteers from the Pitt School of Pharmacy along with Pitt Police officers collected 185 pounds of expired and unused medications to turn over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The event marked the DEA-sponsored 10th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and similar drug take-back stations were offered throughout the UPMC hospital system.
“Drug-overdose deaths stemming from misuse of medications are on the rise in our area,” said Justin Saver, Drug Take-Back coordinator and member of the School of Pharmacy Class of 2018. “Eliminating unused, expired and unwanted medications lowers the probability that those medications will be abused, significantly lowering the risk of mortality associated with drug abuse.”
The improper disposal of medications also can have a negative impact on the environment. Medications have been discovered in our water supply, which poses a threat to humans, animals and our food supply.
Due to the tremendous response to Drug Take-Back Day, the Pitt School of Pharmacy hopes to host similar events on an annual basis. “Many patrons remarked how glad they were that we were doing this,” said Saver. “Our students recognize these trends and actively work to institute programs to curb drug abuse as part of our commitment to caring for our community.”
This event was the second Drug Take-Back Day hosted this year by the Pitt School of Pharmacy. The first event, held in March 2015, saw the return of 450 pounds of medication, bringing the total for the year to 635 pounds.