Men and women in white coats huddled together to discuss final preparations while posters stating “Safe, free and no questions asked!” covered the inside of the Wilce Student Health Center.
The pharmacists were finalizing plans for Medication Disposal Day, a day for students to turn in over-the-counter or prescription drugs that were either expired or unused.
“Just taking (drugs) out of people’s hands is a good way of keeping people from abusing drugs,” said Phillip Anderson, pharmacy manager at the Wilce Student Health Center.
The event was held on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., however, Medication Disposal Day has been taking place since 2011, with the last on-campus event being held on April 21, 2016.
“Medication disposal days are extremely important to prevent the diversion of unneeded medications and to dispose of them in a safe, legal and environmentally friendly manner. Most teenagers who misuse prescription drugs obtain them from a friend or family member,” said Dr. Candace Haugtvedt, a pharmacist at OSU Student Health Services Pharmacy, in a press release.
The April event resulted in the removal of over 131.5 pounds of drugs from the OSU community.
“Specifically Adderall is one the medications that we focus on, and we also focus on opioids,” said Andrea Haugtvedt a third-year pharmacy student who was working at the event.
One of the big focuses of the initiative is supporting students who misuse these drugs.
“We think that it is very important to realize (addiction) is a disease, that it can happen to anybody and that we want to provide the resources for our students to succeed,” said Andrea Haugtvedt.
Medication Disposal Day also aims to help reduce pollution to the environment, as drugs flushed down the sinks and toilets pollute sewer systems, rivers, creeks and other sources of water.
OSU works to stop this pollution by destroying the drugs with a “chemical reaction, followed by burning it” Anderson said.
University Police and the OSU’s Department of Public Safety are in charge of the event, while the Student Health Services Pharmacy and Generation Rx, a student organization, is responsible for identifying the tablets that are dropped off.
“We are also working on having a permanent ‘drug take-back box’ installed at the OSU Police Station on campus,” said Candace Haugtvedt. The box would serve as a permanent way for students to dispose of drugs.
Currently drug take-back box proposal is still “in the works” due to the vast amount of rules that have to be established surrounding it, Anderson said.
The university requested that The Lantern not talk to students dropping off drugs at the event due to HIPPA concerns.