Safe Medication Disposal Event Vital Resource for Community
During National Pharmacists Month in October, the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy hosted its biannual Safe Medication Disposal event. Twenty-five students operated two collections sites, on central campus and at Michigan Medicine. Thanks to their efforts and the community’s participation, students were able to keep 1,115 pounds of medical waste out of our water, landfills, and the wrong hands.
Since the events inception in 2014, students have collected nearly 7,500 lbs. of medication and sharps for safe disposal.
While many local pharmacies and police stations accept some medications for disposal, the College’s student-run event accepts medications that are more difficult to dispose of, including ointments and lotions, inhalers, antibiotics, controlled medications, sharps and sharps containers.
“Organizing this event has shown me how beneficial medication disposal events are for our local community, especially for those who accumulate sharps and sharps containers in their household with nowhere to safely dispose of their materials,” says Emily Nguyen, P3, student event lead representing APhA-ASP's Operation Substance Use Disorders.
“Disposing of old meds through regular trash might seem convenient and timesaving in the short run, but in the long run will have detrimental effects on the environment and ecosystem,” notes Annie Cheung, P2, Phi Delta Chi Professionalism Committee Co-Chair. “It's worth your time to find medication disposal sites near where you live and dispose of your meds in a responsible and environmentally conscious manner.”
“Safe medication disposal is important to me as a future pharmacist, considering many patients are uncertain what to do with their expired or unused medications,” explains Thomas Senneff, P3, Phi Delta Chi as the Professionalism Committee Co-Chair. “Providing an opportunity to dispose of these medications, while also educating people on the importance of safe disposal is vital to patient and environmental safety.”
Special thanks to preceptors Dr. Peggy Carver, Dr. Sarah Vordenberg, and Dr. Mary Dimo, and onsite officers Martin Morales and Craig Harvey.
For information on future events and safe medication disposal resources, visit the College’s event page.