Students turn in medications to save environment, community

Students over the weekend turned in unneeded medication as part of an initiative by the Baylor Police Department. Harry Rowe | Staff Writer

By Harry Rowe | Staff Writer

Students turned in unneeded medication as part of an initiative by the Baylor Police Department this past weekend.

The “Take-Back Day” was Saturday and took place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students could take any unused prescription drugs to be discarded properly at the Baylor University Police Department. The program was part of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Rx Take-Back Initiative. The initiative is in place to “Help us protect our environment, prevent misuse and establish healthy habits by properly disposing of unused and expired prescription drugs,” according to the webpage for the event.

“Baylor Police Department joined the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Drug Take-Back Day initiative in October of 2017 as a means to assist our community members in disposing of old or unused prescription drugs to help create a safer home environment, protect the environment and prevent the diversion of these drugs,” said Brad Wigtil, chief of Baylor police.

The event was started in 2017 at Baylor although it has been going on since 2007 nationally. A news release of last year’s drug take back event said turning in these potentially harmful drugs significantly reduces the chances any child or animal accidentally ingests the substances. Additionally, “controlled disposal of drugs also minimizes amounts of substances that show up in the nation’s water system,” according to the 2017 release.

Baylor police officer Scott Curry explained why the drug take-back not only provides safety to the community but also gives the public an education about the topic at hand.

“The importance of the drug take-back program is to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications,” Curry said. “There are many substances, such as pain killers and ADHD medications, that have very high addiction rates. We want to provide a safe place to properly dispose of the medications so they do not get in the wrong hands.”

Baylor also lists scientific reasons in its news release for the importance of disposing of medication properly. Bryan Brooks, a distinguished professor of environmental science and biomedical studies at Baylor, has studied the effects of drug waste on an environmental level. During his research he and his team found “about 54 percent of people (in Hong Kong) will dispose unwanted drugs with normal solid waste” and “three-quarters of the people have unwanted drugs at home, and about 60 percent of it will be wasted.” In addition, Brooks said it was important to properly discard drugs to not damage the water quality, like if someone flushed their drugs down the toilet.

“The results of this October’s campaign were impressive,” Wigtil said.”BUPD will be turning over 126 pounds of prescription drugs to the Drug Enforcement Agency for destruction.”