Pharmacy students can play a role in raising awareness about the proper disposal of medicines and other therapeutic devices, a new study shows.

pharmacy studentsResearch published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association revealed students in Knoxville, Tennessee helped pharmacists to collect half a tonne of unwanted medicines, 535 mercury thermometers and 213kg of recyclable packaging.

The study, aimed to reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals present in the local community’s water supply, highlight the safe use of medicines by setting up collection points where the public could drop off unwanted products.

“Community officials and students collaborated to plan advertising, implementation and appropriate medication and thermometer disposal.

“Event volunteers set up easily accessible tents and tables in high-traffic areas to collect unused medications, mercury thermometers and recyclable medication bottles,” the authors said.

The study found the year-long program raised awareness among the general public about the role pharmacists play in safe medication use, while also reducing pharmaceutical waste.

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