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Community Faculty Students

Pharmacy Students and Faculty Help Police Dispose of Prescription Drugs

Author cupharmacy | Publish Date April 20, 2015

Students and faculty members from the School of Pharmacy collected 583 pounds of medications at this year’s Drug Disposal Event. Working in conjunction with the University Police Department, our students and faculty members sorted and removed labels from all of the prescription drugs dropped off during the event, which the police then drove to a disposal site.

This annual event, held Sat., Apr. 18 at the Anschutz Medical Campus, offers community members the opportunity to safely and responsibly dispose of their unwanted and expired medications, which is an important step in preventing prescription drug abuse.

Robert Valuck, PhD, who is an instrumental figure in the Take Meds Seriously campaign, says that drug take-back events like the one hosted by the school on Saturday play an important role in curbing prescription drug deaths.

“Studies have shown that 70% of people who begin misusing, abusing or eventually become addicted to prescription drugs start with prescription drugs that they found in a friend or family member’s medicine cabinet.”

Second year pharmacy student Marina Maes noted that with the growing prescription drug epidemic, it's a welcome sight to see so many people taking advantage of the disposal event and getting rid of their medications in a responsible way.

This is just one of the many lessons pharmacy students were able to take away from their experiences at the school's drug disposal day. Pharmacy students volunteering at the event view their participation not only as a public service, but also as a learning experience.

P3 Felicity Burke said, “I think it was eye opening to see which medications were being disposed of today. It really makes me realize the importance of counseling in pharmacy, especially on finishing courses of antibiotics and adherence of antihypertensive medications.”

A student who volunteered at last years’ take-back event, P2 David Pastore, said he was amazed by how much he has learned in just one year of pharmacy school.

“Last year, I recognized the names of only a few of the prescriptions I saw, but this year I have only seen three so far that I don't know.”

Many of the CU Pharmacy faculty members helping out also enjoyed examining some of the older, historic medications. Peter Rice, PharmD, said, "It's amazing to see what some people will keep in their medicine cabinets for all these years."