UPDATE: 1:16 p.m. 4/27/16 'IMPD' has been changed to 'IUPD' to reflect the correct police team investigating this issue.
IUPUI will join with the Indianapolis community to dispose of unused prescription drugs this month.
National Drug Take Back Day is an initiative led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The program, which is in its eleventh year, seeks to encourage the disposal of unused or expired prescription drugs.
IUPUI is participating in the take back day through the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IUPD) and the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion at IUPUI. The Office of Health and Wellness Promotion is involved in prevention, screening, and recovery support for substance abuse.
This is the first time in recent years that IUPUI has been a part of the drug take back day.
“So far I’ve noticed there a two reactions to our marketing efforts – either people look confused, or they enthusiastically tell me about the box full of old medicine they have saved up at home,” Eric Teske, the Assistant Director of Substance Abuse Prevention at IUPUI, said. “I’m excited we’ll be able to provide a safe and convenient way for them to ditch their leftovers.”
The purpose of the event is to get prescription drugs out of the water and environment, as people tend to flush their unused pills down the toilet or throw them in the trash. Drugs that are flushed can leave trace amounts of chemicals in water, which affects frogs, fish, and other aquatic species.
Anyone who wishes to participate can drop off their unwanted medications in the Campus Center on Thursday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other locations will be set up around the city on Saturday, April 30. Saturday locations can be found on the DEA’s website.
The drug take back will accept various medical paraphernalia, such as pills, pill bottles, powders, patches, and contraband including pipes. The items should be in a discreet container, such as a plastic bag.
Drugs collected during the event will be received by the IUPD and incinerated.
Throughout the year, residents of Marion County who wish to drop off prescription drugs can contact the Marion County Sheriff's Department. The department accepts drop offs of all medicine. In 2014, a permanent drug drop off box was installed in the Marion County Jail.
“I think we lost some focus here in Marion County on some things that are very, very important,” Sheriff John Layton told Fox 59 in a 2014 interview. “I’m just glad we’ve got a handle on it now and this is going to do nothing but grow.”
National Drug Take Back Day also aims to reduce prescription abuse. Most individuals that abuse prescription drugs get them from the medicine cabinets of their family or friends.
Students that wish to seek help for any addiction related issues has resources available to them through IUPUI. Students are referred to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which assess student’s needs and refers them to treatment options.
According to Teske, IUPUI and IU Bloomington have the only collegiate recovery programs in Indiana.
According to the numbers provided by student-based surveys, less than 20 percent of students have taken drugs in the last twelve months that were not prescribed to them. Less than five percent of students take them on a monthly basis. The most common substances are painkillers like Vicodin and stimulants like Adderall.
“I work with students in recovery from addiction who help put the numbers in context,” Teske said. “Prescription drug abuse definitely happens at IUPUI, and it’s something we’re trying to prevent, but I try to keep it in perspective and remember the healthy majority of students who are not engaged in this behavior at all.”