May 24, 2019 | 62° F

Rutgers combats opioid addiction with Prescription Take-Back Day event

Photo by Cynthia Vasquez |

Once in the Fall and once during Rutgers Day, Generation Rx, an organization comprised of pharmacy students, hosts "Prescription Drug Take-Back Day." The event, run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, emphasizes safe ways to dispose of prescription drugs on campus.

On Saturday, Generation Rx held their bi-annual event "Prescription Drug Take-Back Day," a national initiative run by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with the goal of getting rid of prescription drugs in a safe way.

The Rutgers chapter of this initiative is relatively new, said Emilia Debek, an Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy junior and the committee chair of the club said.

“Our pharmacy school specifically, we started two years ago. So our first one was Spring of 2016 and we brought it out at Rutgers Day," she said.

Generation Rx hosts this event once in the fall and also on Rutgers Day during the spring semester.

“Initially, we advertised at local pharmacies, we had posted on the page and we were out there with RUPD (Rutgers University Police Department) for anyone to bring their medication who attended Rutgers Day to just dispose of them," she said. 

Generation Rx, an organization comprised of pharmacy students, is at the event to serve as experts on medication and assist people with any questions they may have about their medication. Once the drugs are collected, RUPD handles them, taking them to the DEA office in New Jersey, where they are disposed of. The most common method of rendering pharmaceutical controlled substances non-retrievable is incineration, according to the DEA website

After the event, Michael Marinacci, committee chair of Generation Rx and an Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy junior, spoke about the turnout.

“I’d say about 30 people … At Rutgers Day we definitely get more people, just because there are more people walking around and there are other health fairs going on too so we get more traffic that way,” Marinacci said. 

Debek said that with every take-back that they have done, they have gotten more and more feedback. 

 "With this one, we’ve tried to do more advertising about it, so we’ve gone to more local pharmacies and had them distribute fliers, we went to Hidden Grounds to get the take-back fliers distributed," she said. 

Marinacci said that he would have liked more people to come and actually give in their prescription medication. But, he believes that the booth educated people about the dangers of prescription medication and how to properly dispose of medications so they know what do in the future. 

At the event, a survey was given to gauge how much people knew about safe drug use in order to better inform the public. In addition to "Prescription Drug Take-Back Day," Generation Rx is running other initiatives toward safer drug use. One of these initiatives is aimed at Naloxone, a drug used as an antidote to opioids in the case of an overdose, Marinacci said.  

"We have a really big initiative that incorporates medical students, nursing students, faculty and anyone in the community just to get trained on how to administer it and it's something we're really pushing this year and it's been really successful so far," he said. 

The booth contained a trifold with information explaining the dangers of opioid addiction, how it can start from prescription medication and the best ways to get rid of prescription medication. In addition to students from Generation Rx, the event was facilitated by volunteers from American Pharmacists Association and an RUPD officer.

“Through this committee, you will absolve most myths associated with prescription drug abuse and learn the real truth behind this growing epidemic," the Generation RX mission statement reads. 

Shane Garry

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