UB pharmacy students promote safe disposal of medications

Students at Drug Take Back Day.

By Kara Sweet

Published October 30, 2019

On October 26, University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences students participated in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which offers a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and medications.


Students were stationed at 3 locations around Western New York: Millard Fillmore Hospital, Degraff Memorial Hospital and Kenmore Mercy Hospital.

Working in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration and local police departments, the initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential environmental and health hazards. Since 2016, UB SPPS has partnered with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals to distribute Deterra Drug Deactivation Systems to the Western New York community. With 30 seconds and a little warm water, the environmentally friendly pouches deactivate pills, patches or liquid medications, rendering them safe for landfills and easy to dispose.

Drug Take Back Day.

The first WNY prescription drug take-back event took place in 2009 and was pioneered by Karl Fiebelkorn, Senior Associate Dean for Student, Professional, and Community Affairs, Dr. Chris Jadoch, ’87, former pharmacy director at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston, NY, and current Assistant Dean at the D’Youville College School of Pharmacy, and Cheryll Moore, Medical Care Administrator for the Erie County Board of Health. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration observed the local efforts and used it as a framework for the current National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which began in 2010.

Those who missed the event can search for year-round drug disposal locations on the DEA website.

For over 130 years, the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has continually been a leader in the education of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, renowned for innovation in clinical practice and research. The school is accredited by the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) and is the No. 1 ranked school of pharmacy in New York State and No. 22 in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.