Drug overdoses kill four Ohioans every day, and many of those are from prescription drugs. As part of the initiative to end drug abuse, a UT pharmacy student is assisting the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department with participating in a national event to raise awareness about the issue.
A local event on National Medication Take Back Day will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at the health department’s main office, 635 North Erie St., Toledo. The program will address a vital public safety and public health issue by encouraging those with outdated prescription drugs or ones that are not being used anymore to be disposed of appropriately.
Amy Ninlawong, UT third-year pharmacy student and intern at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, researched the National Medication Take Back Day program and received approvals from the Lucas County Sheriff and Toledo Drug Enforcement Administration Office to hold a local event.
“Amy researched the rules and regulations of the program, completed all the proper paperwork, and worked on advertising throughout the community,” said Evelyn Schreier, pharmacist at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department. “She wanted more community service on top of her work in the pharmacy and her studies. Her enthusiasm is unreal, and I could not ask for a better intern to help launch the health department’s first year with Medication Take Back Day.”
This is the first time the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department has participated in this event, but the third year there have been drop-off locations in Toledo.
“The health department is always looking for community service projects, and when I first researched ideas for possible topics, I came across Medication Take Back Day,” Ninlawong said. “Having a location downtown is very convenient for patients and the community, and also encourages them to dispose of medications they no longer need or have expired.”
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends; this includes taking prescriptions from home medicine cabinets, Schreier said.
“If a patient no longer takes the medication or it is expired, there is no need for the medication anymore. Keeping old medication can lead to serious outcomes, such as poisoning, overdose, and drug abuse, for children and adults,” she said.
Prescription drugs are not to be disposed of down the sink, flushed or thrown in the trash, but rather through an organized program like Medicine Take Back Day to minimize the harmful effects to the environment.
Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration collected 188 tons of medication on National Medication Take Back Day.
For more information and a complete list of drop-off locations, click here.