Campus offers safe medication disposal

By Jacob Vaughn
Copy Editor/Fact Checker

Photo Illustration by Eriana Ruiz

Brookhaven College police officers will host a Drug Take Back event 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 6 in the Commons Courtyard. While syringes or inhalers are not accepted, attendees can drop off any unused prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.

“Drug Take Back is a national event designed to have a safe place to dispose of old and unused drugs free of charge,” Cpl. Vikki Ethington, a campus police officer, said in an email to The Courier. Ethington said some people are unaware old drugs should not be flushed down the toilet because they mix with public drinking water.

“Unfortunately, there are no filters that get all the drug residue out of the water, and that leaves us drinking trace amounts,” Ethington said. If there were no safe places to dispose of these drugs, the trace amounts in the water would be enough to affect those drinking it, she said.

In an email to The Courier, Mildred Kelley, Brookhaven nurse, said the event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration. Kelley said she encourages other schools to take part in this event to ensure drugs are properly disposed of.

The standard of destruction for these substances, according to a 2014 letter to DEA registrants, is nonretrievable. According to the letter, “A substance is considered ‘nonretrievable’ when it cannot be transformed to a physical or chemical condition or state as a controlled substance or controlled substance analogue.” Substance analogue is a chemical substantially similar to a Schedule I or II drug.

Ethington said the 125 agencies that participated in the fall. Together, they  collected and properly disposed of 31,645 pounds of drugs. She said 36 pounds were collected at Brookhaven in the fall semester. “We’re hoping to increase that amount this semester,” Ethington said.