On Thursday, April 29, Binghamton’s New York State University Police (UPD) and the United Multicultural Pharmacists Association (UMPA) student chapter at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SOPPS) will be hosting a drug take-back event.
At the event, volunteers will be collecting prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. The medications must be in their original containers and may not be illegal or flammable, and medical equipment will not be accepted. Veterinary medications will also be accepted. This event aims to give people a place to dispose of their medications safely and easily. Yetrib Hathout, a professor and graduate director of pharmaceutical sciences and adviser for the UMPA, is one of the contributors organizing and running the event.
“The drug take-back day is a highly important public health event that was organized by student members within the SOPPS UMPA organization,” Hathout wrote in an email. “Anyone in the Binghamton community and even bordering Pennsylvania who has unused [or] unwanted medications can dispose of them through this event.”
When people do not have access to a place to dispose of their medications properly, Hathout said there can be negative repercussions. One of the risks of throwing out medications in the garbage is drug addicts or other outsiders might find them and misuse them, according to Hathout. Furthermore, keeping unused medicine is risky because other members of the household may find them and take them. Hathout added that flushing drugs could have negative consequences on the environment and water system.
“The drug take-back day is a safe and convenient way of disposing of unused drugs,” Hathout wrote. “Most of the time people do not know what to do with their unused and no longer needed drugs. Often older patients have multiple medications, including painkillers, which can be misused by their kids and grandkids. This drug take-back event will educate the general public about safe drug disposal, the potential for abuse of medications and environmentally friendly ways of disposing of medications.”
One of the event’s goals is to raise awareness of drug addiction and misuse. Leeba Eichen, an undeclared freshman, said this event should be a useful resource for students and other members of Broome County.
“I believe that this event has the potential to prevent a lot of negative consequences,” Eichen said. “The opioid epidemic is an ongoing issue in the United States and events like the drug take-back could slow the rate of medication abuse.”
According to Hathout, all drugs collected at the event will be destroyed and neutralized in a boiler. This system was created to prevent the environmental and social consequences of other disposal methods. Abigail Fischer, a sophomore majoring in biology, said she is passionate about the environment and was happy to learn that this event could prevent further environmental damage.
“The environment is slowly deteriorating, and I believe that we all need to do our best to preserve it,” Fischer said. “Small steps could have a huge impact in protecting nature and the perseverance of our world. Many people flush drugs, chemicals and other items down their drains. This can have negative effects on the water system and on the environment as a whole.”
The event will take place from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the SOPPS, 96 Corliss Ave., Johnson City, by the loading dock, and all are welcome to participate.