Dispose of old or unwanted drugs, sharps Saturday at TTUHSC's Medication Cleanout
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy, with the help of the Texas Panhandle Poison Center (TPPC) and in partnership with the Amarillo Police Department (APD), is offering local residents the opportunity to properly dispose of all expired, unwanted or unnecessary medications at the Medication Cleanout. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the TTUHSC Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy, located at 1400 South Coulter.
The Medication Cleanout employs a drive-thru, drop-off format, which allows residents to conveniently dispose of their medications without leaving their cars. Yard signs will be posted to help drivers locate the drive-thru path. Medications should be left in their original containers. The cleanout is accepting both prescription and over-the-counter medications in all forms, including liquid forms, as long as they are in their original container with proper labeling.
TPPC Managing Director Jeanie Shawhart, Pharm.D., who also is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the TTUHSC Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy, encourages Amarillo residents and those from the surrounding area to bring their unused, expired or unnecessary medications for proper disposal. The program also provides disposal services for syringes or sharps. This is TPPC’s 81st Medication Cleanout event since the program began in 2009.
To date, more than 75,000 pounds of medications and sharps have been collected for proper disposal.
Shawhart says old medications become potential sources of poisoning to young children or may be accessed by teens experimenting with drugs. They are also a hazard to adults and elderly, as they increase the risk of choosing the wrong bottle or taking medications that are no longer required.
Shawhart stated in a news release: “Medication Cleanout is a proactive approach to safeguard our communities by providing a free and convenient way for people to dispose of these medications in a legal, environmentally sound and convenient manner.”
During the event, every medication from cough syrup to eyedrops and pet medication will be accepted for proper disposal.
According to Shawhart, an additional benefit to participating in the mediation cleanout is to remain proactive in preventing the abuse of prescription medications, including in circumstances involving suicidal behaviors.
"There are many benefits to removing unwanted or expired medications from your homes. Toddlers tend to roam around and experiment, discover, and so they will get into medications that are accessible to them. So, by removing those, you are reducing that risk, but perhaps an even a greater risk right now is with our teens," Shawhart said.
"We are seeing a steady increase in suicidal gestures in teens and those with mental health issues, and one of the top methods that they will use for suicidal gestures is in medications," Shawhart added. "They will go to the medicine cabinet in the home and take whatever is available there. We advise that individuals participate in the cleanout to properly dispose of those medications, and anything that they are using, we suggest that they keep it locked up."
The drive-thru drop off is expected to take no longer than 10 minutes as each individual drops off their items. The collection of the medications is completely anonymous, and Shawhart reassures the public that no documentation of the medications, individuals or addressees is being registered.
For the collection of sharps, Shawhart asks participants to ensure that the materials are either in a sharps container or a thick plastic container like a bleach or detergent bottle, to ensure that nothing pokes through the casing, potentially harming the volunteers collecting the materials.
Due to environmental restrictions, only medications from households can be accepted. Medications from clinics, pharmacies and other businesses are not allowed. For those unable to attend the Medication Cleanout, year-round disposal kiosks are available in select areas of Amarillo, which can be found at various pharmacies throughout the city.
For more information about the Medication Cleanout, call (806) 414-9495 or visit www.MedicationCleanout.com.
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Amarillo organizations accept medications and sharps during cleanout