A survey by a federal government agency found that each day, nearly 3,000 teenagers abuse a prescription drug for the first time. The City of St. Louis is partnering with St. Louis College of Pharmacy and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to remove these potentially dangerous, unused and unwanted medications from the home as part of the St. Louis Medication Disposal Initiative.
"Too many young people are too easily getting their hands on drugs found right inside our medicine cabinets," said Mayor Francis Slay. "Turning in those expired or unused medications to be properly disposed is a simple and convenient way to protect our kids and our environment."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that nearly one-third of people age 12 and over who used drugs for the first time began by using a prescription drug non-medically.
"Medication abuse often starts with teens and young adults stealing from the homes of family and friends," said Amy Tiemeier, Pharm.D., assistant professor and director of professional affairs at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. "Unfortunately, those medications act as a gateway to narcotics like heroin or cocaine. There's a mistaken belief among young people that because a medication is prescribed or is available over-the-counter, it is safer than street drugs. Easy access does not equate to less harm."
On April 27, residents of the region can take unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medication to a designated disposal site. By dropping off medications, residents will ensure it stays out of the wrong hands and out of our water supply. In the City of St. Louis, unwanted medications can be disposed of at four Walgreens locations. In surrounding communities, disposal locations will be located at police stations and other community locations. A full listing of sites can be found at www.stlcop.edu.
On April 21, College faculty members, students and DEA agents began visiting several senior housing and recreation centers in the City of St. Louis. The College is also partnering with two churches to hold disposal events during Sunday services.
"This is a unique partnership," said Tiemeier. "By increasing access to disposal sites, we know more medication will be turned in safely."
The St. Louis Medication Disposal Initiative will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on April 27, 2013.
The four Walgreens disposal sites are:
- 4218 Lindell, St. Louis, MO 63108
- 3822 S. Kingshighway, St. Louis, MO 63109
- 1530 Lafayette, St. Louis, MO 63104
- 3720 N. Kingshighway, St. Louis, MO 63115
To learn more about the proper disposal of medications, visit www.stlcop.edu.
Dr. Tiemeier is available for interviews.
About St. Louis College of Pharmacy: Founded in 1864, St. Louis College of Pharmacy is the fourth oldest and 10th largest college of pharmacy in America. The College integrates the liberal arts and sciences with a professional curriculum and introductory and advanced practice experiences where students can develop expertise and become leaders in the profession and their communities. Beginning in 2014, the seven-year curriculum leading to a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree will also include a Bachelor of Science degree. The College admits students directly from high school and accepts transfer students and graduates from other colleges and universities. More than 1,250 students are currently enrolled from 30 states and several countries. Additional information is available at www.stlcop.edu.