Big Country residents clean out their medicine cabinets

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center holds annual medication cleanup

ABILENE, Texas - From 10am to 2pm, residents brought their unused and expired medication to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center's School of Pharmacy.

The day of disposal is an effort to keep medication from getting into the wrong hands.

The Texas Tech School of Pharmacy turned their parking lot into a drive-thru for people to drop-off their unused and expired medication.

One of the biggest reason disposers gave for getting rid of their old meds was, "We have a little great granddaughter that's about two and half so this was a good chance to get rid of a lot of stuff," Abilene Independent School District employee Lucille Jacobson said.

"We've got a lot of grand kids and didn't want them in the house," Darrell James said.

The pharmacy school said they also want to prevent the prescribed patients from taking any old medications. After pills are dropped off outside, they are brought to an upstairs room to be counted, sorted and patient's information de-identified.

"If they throw them in the trash, they can end up who knows where," Texas Tech School of Nursing student Ashly Cosby said. "A lot of people will flush them and when they flush them they're going to go into our water system and so we really like to properly dispose of them."

Cosby said proper disposal helps to keep prescription pills out of the wrong hands.

"If you have a pink pill that may look like a skittle or an M&M to them," Cosby said. "They're going to pick it up and put it in their mouth and, if it's something like a controlled substance that can very detrimental to them."

The pharmacy school holds the clean-outs in the spring and fall. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescribed drugs abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States. Since 2012, the program has collected more than nine pounds of medication.

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