Student Health Services Receives Grant to Fund Medication Disposal Program

NC State’s Student Health Services (SHS) is one of the top ranked student health facilities in the state. For the Wolfpack community, it’s a trusted provider of high quality health care in a convenient, central campus location. As champions for the personal wellness of students, faculty, and staff, SHS staff continues to grow by implementing new services and initiatives to meet the needs of our diverse campus community. In recent years, SHS has initiated a mobile-friendly online scheduling system, partnered with Campus Smiles to bring dental services to campus, and has implemented programming to bring increased awareness to and reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues. SHS’s latest endeavor supports the safe disposal of medications through a new MedSafe Medication Disposal program.

SHS staff is frequently approached by students, faculty, and staff who are uncertain of how to properly dispose of unused or expired medications. Medications that are improperly disposed of, such as by flushing down a drain or simply placing in the trashcan, pose a serious safety risk. Water treatment facilities are unable to effectively filter medication from water, resulting in negative implications for fish and wildlife. Medication that is not securely disposed of can be accidentally ingested by children or household pets.

During the past year SHS has partnered with the campus police department to provide a medication drop off service. The success of the year-long program prompted SHS’ Sustainability Committee and pharmacy staff to seek out a more long-term solution that would enable the campus community to dispose of unused medications safely on a consistent basis. A grant awarded by the Sustainability Committee allowed SHS to partner with Sharps Compliance, Inc. to install a patented MedSafe disposal receptacle.

Sharps Compliance, Inc. is a medical waste disposal management service that has helped consumers to safely dispose of more than 800,000 pounds of medication over the last eight years. The company’s MedSafe system is a DEA-approved collection receptacle that will allow SHS to safely collect unused medications in a special collection bag that is sealed and shipped to Sharps Compliance for incineration. A one-way drop feature prevents deposited medications from being removed from the device.

The grant has provided over $1900.00 in funding which will pay for the MedSafe receptacle and its installation, return shipping, and medication incineration for one year. SHS has also allocated a significant portion of the grant funds for the development of educational and promotional materials to support a strategic marketing plan to build awareness about the program within the campus community.

The MedSafe box has been installed on the first floor of the Student Health Center and is accessible to students, faculty, and staff.