How did you learn about DisposeRx?
DisposeRx launched with Kroger, my current practice site, a few years ago, and it was such an intriguing idea that I knew I wanted to get more involved. After looking through the resources DisposeRx had online, I quickly realized how much of an impact this would have on both the environment and the safety of our patients. One of the most common questions I get working in a community pharmacy is how to dispose of a medication or where the closest drug take-back box is. DisposeRx is great because it allows the patients to dispose of their medications safely in the convenience of their homes. For some of our patients, this is incredibly valuable as they are unable to travel to drug take-back boxes in and around the Memphis area.
Tell us about how the University of Tennessee encourages pharmacy students to get involved in the community.
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy has a variety of service organizations aimed to help supplement our education through service and leadership within the greater Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville communities. This includes holding health fairs, organizing events specifically targeted towards patient populations (diabetes, heart disease, asthma/COPD, OTC medication safety for children and young adults, as well as women’s health to name a few), and serving our communities through providing patient education. Through the Academy of Student Pharmacists (under APhA), I have had the honor of serving as a Generation Rx chair. In this position, I have had the opportunity to create events for our student body to help promote safe medication practices throughout all stages of life. This includes informing patients on the opioid crisis and how it relates to Tennessee and promoting harm reduction services through our partnerships with a local needle exchange. I felt that this partnership with DisposeRx would greatly add to our programming and help address proper medication disposal in a unique way.
What events have you participated in or coordinated where you shared DisposeRx packets or provided demos?
Recently, UTHSC College of Pharmacy students attended a STEM expo at a local elementary school in Memphis, Tenn., where we introduced a variety of topics related to health and the pharmacist’s role as one of the most accessible healthcare providers. We had some demonstrations for the students to show how the DisposeRx packets worked, and they loved seeing the solution solidify. We emphasized the need for better medication disposal practices and the harms of simply throwing your medication in the trash. We look forward to continuing to educate students at schools around the Memphis area and reach older populations, as well, since we see them as a population that would benefit greatly from DisposeRx resources!
What has the response been to DisposeRx packets?
Students at the STEM expo loved seeing the demonstration, and parents were also very engaged in the process as well. I think that this has sparked a lot of conversations about the need to dispose of medication when it is not being used or is expired. Participants were also happy to hear that local pharmacies around the Memphis area have these packets to distribute with their medication if needed. This addresses the difficulty of some patients to connect with resources that their local pharmacies provide.
We know you work at a pharmacy that dispenses DisposeRx packets. Can you tell us more about the pharmacy and how you educate patients?
Our pharmacy is located in Bartlett, Tenn., and is very high volume. We have been a partner with DisposeRx for a couple of years, and patients are engaged and understand and appreciate the utility of the product. While time in a community pharmacy is usually limited, we are fortunate that DisposeRx packets are incredibly easy to use and have instructions that are simple.
Why do you think medication disposal is so important?
Medication disposal is such an impactful way everyone can get involved in protecting their environment, family and friends. Every year thousands of children die or are sent to the emergency room after ingesting a family member’s medication. While we already do a lot of programming and education geared toward children and medication safety, we wanted to take a step further and teach them about the resources that are available for safe medication disposal. Further, older patient populations would benefit greatly from DisposeRx packets as they are easy to use and accessible. Patients can pick these up at their local pharmacies and safely dispose of their medications at home. DisposeRx packets are easy to use, safe for the environment and convenient. We look forward to continuing to partner with DisposeRx and spreading good information about medication disposal and its importance!