Kristen Dragotto, A&E Editor
On April 24 and 25, Officer Dustin Smith from the University of Missouri–St. Louis PD set up shop in the second floor of the Millennium Student Center rotunda to host a Rx Drug Takeback Day. The event took place from 9 a.m. to noon April 24 and 1 to 3 p.m. April 25. While the Drug Enforcement Administration National Rx Drug Takeback Day fell on Saturday, UMSL PD opted to host it during the week so it would be more accessible to students.
Rx Drug Takeback Day offers the UMSL population a safe way of disposing old and unwanted medications. The medications that could be taken included prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter medications. The medication was required to be in its original packaging from the pharmacy whether it was a controlled substance, inhalers, ointments or pills.
The UMSL PD also offered free gifts for those who stopped by the table, including a locking cap for pill bottles, travel tissues, pencil pouches and frisbees, which were provided by an organization called Partners in Prevention who UMSL PD is partnered with. Among the free giveaways were Deterra bags which gave students the opportunity to dispose of their medications at home.
The DEA National Rx Drug Takeback program aims to help eliminate the abuse of controlled substances like opioids in communities, while offering people the opportunity to dispose of their medication before it is misused. It is no secret that the abuse of prescription medications has increased. The U.S. has found itself in the midst of an epidemic with an increase of abuse of opioids. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, every day more than 130 people die from opioid overdose. St. Louis has one the highest ranks in relation to opioid addiction and deaths due to overdoses from opioids.
According to the DEA National Rx Drug Takeback’s website, in October 2018 the program had 5,839 collection sites, the participation of 4,770 law enforcement workers and collected 457.12 tons of prescription medication. UMSL PD did a Drug Takeback event Nov. 7, 2018 and were very successful as they collected 40 pounds of medications.
Officer Smith of UMSL PD stated, “The UMSL Police Department is committed to providing a safe and friendly environment for our community. Working with our student, faculty and staff community in the DEA Rx Drug Takeback Program, with the help of friends in PIP (Partners in Prevention) we can help reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse in our community.”
Events like the Rx Drug Takeback Day are so important because not only do they allow the students, faculty and staff the opportunity to dispose of their medication in a proper way but gives them a chance to interact with the officers. The DEA Rx Takeback Day is just one of the many ways that the UMSL PD works to not only keep the people on campus safe but connect with the community.
The UMSL PD posts Rx Drug Takeback Days on their Facebook page and advertise the event on campus. Other locations to Rx Drug Takebacks can be found on the DEA National Rx Drug Takeback’s website: https://takebackday.dea.gov/