Students drop off expired and unused medications for Medication Disposal Day – The Oracle

The event aimed to educate students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, according to health promotion specialist Kathleen Koviak. ORACLE PHOTO/JUSTIN SEECHARAN

The Center for Student Well-Being set up a table outside the Marshall Student Center on Tuesday to educate and provide students with a way to properly dispose of prescription drugs.

Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., students could drop off expired or unused medications, including pills, patches and ointments, for free, according to BullsConnect. The group did not accept inhalers, thermometers or syringes.

The same event took place in March and is regularly held on the St. Pete campus while promoting drug use awareness, according to health promotion specialist Kathleen Koviak.

Providing medication disposals is critical for school campuses because it ensures students avoid the negative side effects of consuming expired medications, Koviak said.

“Just keep them out of the wrong hands, keep our community safe, keep them out of the environment,” Koviak said. “This way we can ensure that these products are disposed of safely and appropriately.”

An expired drug usually means that it has undergone chemical recomposition, depending on the FDA. As a result, the treatment is not as effective and may make some conditions worse.

When disposing of prescriptions at home, students should make an effort to secure their private information, Koviak said. Prescription labels usually contain the patient’s name and the medications they are taking as well as the location of their pharmacy.

“Take the tag off,” Koviak said. “Throw it in coffee grounds or kitty litter, if they have it. Then put it in a ziplock bag and you can throw it in your normal trash can.

The Center for Student Welfare instructed students on how to properly dispose of expired and unused prescription medications themselves. ORACLE PHOTO/JUSTIN SEECHARAN

Disposing of expired drugs is only part of increasing drug awareness, Koviak said. At the event, students received information about the impact of popular recreational drugs, such as alcohol and nicotine, on the human body.

Another consideration for throwing away excess medication is to reduce the risk of addiction, according to a hospital and health care management article. The national problem of overprescribing, as well as the decreasing effectiveness of drugs as they are used, can lead to the development of addiction in patients that can be difficult to stop.

Koviak said that although the university requires incoming students to take a drug awareness module, that only scratches the surface of what they need to know.

“We need to provide that point of contact for some students. We might not be able to reach them through the module, but maybe through some of our other educational programs and events,” Koviak said.

The importance of educating students goes beyond side effects, according to Koviak. While addressing the dangers of keeping unused prescriptions, she said some students put themselves at risk by mixing illicit drugs with alcohol.

“Students may be trying to get that extra level of intoxication, we know that can probably cause health issues or even death,” Kodiak said. “So it’s critical to make sure that’s not available either.”

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