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Purge the Pills: Properly dispose of prescription drugs on April 11

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The Office of Alcohol and Other Drugs, the Office of Public Safety and the Center for Sustainability (CfS) will host a prescription drug drop off on Monday, April 11, at the Russell Union Rotunda from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The drug drop box will accept expired or unused prescription or over-the-counter medications, medication samples, pet medications, inhalers, medicated ointments/lotions/drops and unopened Epi-pens.

The event provides a confidential, safe, convenient and responsible means for the Georgia Southern community to dispose of unwanted medications as well as a chance to learn about the potential for abuse and misuse of medications.

Disposal is as easy as 1 –  mark out information on the bottle, only leaving name of the medication, 2 – take the medication to a local drug drop box, and 3 – drop the medications in the box. Items that should not be put in the drug drop box include needles, lancets, syringes, thermometers, IV bags, hydrogen peroxide, personal care products (soap,shampoo, etc.), and waste and bloody or infectious waste.  

In addition, improper disposal of prescription medications poses a threat to public safety.

“One purpose of this event is to keep unused or unwanted prescription drugs out of the wrong hands,” said Lt. Christopher McBride from the Office of Public Safety.  “Proper disposal helps to prevent children from accidental ingestion. It also helps to cut down on theft and robberies from people looking to steal drugs. We really hope that everyone will take advantage of this opportunity to keep our community safer from drug abuse and misuse.”

Proper disposal of medication also helps to prevent environmental concerns.

“Medication that is flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash can pollute our streams and rivers, harm aquatic organisms, and even contaminate our drinking water supply,” said Lissa Leege, Ph.D., director for CfS. “Proper disposal of prescription medications is a simple way to reduce water pollution and protect human health and aquatic systems.”

Prescription drug abuse, as defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is “the use of a medication without a prescription, in a way other than as prescribed, or for the experience or feelings elicited.” The consequences of this abuse have been steadily worsening, reflected in increased treatment admissions, emergency room visits and overdose deaths. The classes of prescription drugs most commonly abused are opioid pain relievers, stimulants and sedatives for relieving anxiety. The most commonly abused over-the-counter drugs are cough and cold remedies containing dextromethorphan. Although often perceived as safer than illicit drugs, over-the-counter medications can be as addictive and dangerous and put users at risk for other adverse health effects, including overdose, especially when taken along with other drugs or alcohol.

Community members may confidentially dispose of expired or unwanted medication all year round at local drug drop boxes, located at Georgia Southern’s Office of Public Safety, the Statesboro Police Department and the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers approximately 125 degree programs serving nearly 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education. GeorgiaSouthern.edu.

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