Prescription and over-the-counter medications can be dropped off with no questions asked from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday near Chick-fil-A in the John. T. Washington Breezeway on campus. The event is open to the public. 

Hosted by UCF Health Services and the UCF Police Department, the event is part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) third National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day raises awareness about prescription drug abuse and what can be done to alleviate it. This is a large public health issue that affects thousands of teenagers each day, and most of the teens obtain the drugs through a family member’s or friend’s medicine cabinet.

The DEA holds these events bi-annually, and last year 116 tons of medications were collected.

“The majority of people don’t know the safe way to dispose of unwanted medicine,” said Megan Pabian, coordinator of University Relations and Public Affairs for Health Services. “Thanks to this national program, UCF can host an event that assures drugs will be disposed of properly and people won’t have to guess if they are doing the right thing.”

While the main purpose of the event is to collect expired and unwanted medications, UCF Health Services and the Police Department also are hoping to educate the public on the issues surrounding improper drug disposal.

Many people believe the best and safest way to dispose of old prescriptions is to flush them down the toilet. But that can harm the environment, including a community’s water supply.

“People think nothing bad will happen if they pour medicine down a sink or flush it in the toilet, because there are no immediate effects of these actions,” said Brenda Walker, a UCF pharmacist. “The water that supplies homes could become contaminated in the long run and effect generations to come. This is why it is so important to educate students about how to safely dispose of drugs.”

At the event, educational flyers will be handed out with information about how to safely throw drugs away when a drug take back event is not available. Flyers also will mention the few drugs that are recommended to be flushed.

This is the first time UCF has participated in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Several other drug take back events in Central Florida will be held Saturday, Oct. 29.  

For more information, contact Megan Pabian at [email protected] or 407-823-2643.