Fisher installs permanent medication disposal unit for safe drug disposal

By Adelisa Badzic '24, Staff Writer

In partnership with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, St. John Fisher College has installed a disposal unit for medications on campus. The announcement was made on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. (Photo by Adelisa Badzic)

St. John Fisher College has announced the installation of a permanent disposal unit for medications on campus. In a partnership between the Wegmans School of Pharmacy and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office,  the disposal units are an effort to provide a safe way for Fisher’s community to dispose of unused or expired prescriptions and over the counter medications.

“No campus in Monroe county has one, FLCC (Finger Lakes Community College) in Ontario has one which made me think we are the pharmacy school, why don’t we have one?” Dr. Matthew Zak, a visiting assistant professor and assistant director of experiential education and the leader of this project said. 

The purpose for this is so controlled substances can be accounted for every step of the way. 

St. John Fisher College and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office partnered to bring medical disposal units to campus. From left to right, Monroe County Deputy Sheriff Mike Favata, Sheriff Todd Baxter, a Fisher security officer, Assistant Director of Experiential Education Dr. Matthew Zak and Pharmacy Student Gina Grasso. (Photo by Adelisa Badzic)

“This is a wonderful thing for our campus,” Pharmacy student and President of the Student Society of Health Systems pharmacy, Gina Grasso said. “When you are prescribed a prescription, it is like a chain of custody. Pharmacies give medications to you and you should be the last one to have that prescription. The pharmacy won’t take them back.” 

Any member of the St. John Fisher College community can utilize this disposable unit and when COVID-19  is less of a risk, Dr. Zak hopes to open this up to the Monroe county community. So people can come to campus, walk in and walk out with no questions asked. 

“When it gets full, the sheriff — who patrols the area happens to be on the Monroe County opioid task force — he’ll come and take it and send it away for incineration in an environmentally sound area,” Grasso said. 

“This is like a final say for the sheriff’s office to make sure prescriptions are disposed of and aren’t distributed to others.” 

Examples of prescription drugs that are accepted: prescription tablets, ointments, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and medications for pets. Although a lot of stuff is accepted, some things such as needles, thermometers, inhalers, and especially hydrogen peroxide are not accepted. Hydrogen peroxide when mixed with a controlled substance can cause a reaction. 

The disposable unit is located in Haffey, near the Security Office. It is like a mailbox that is green and has a list on it of what is accepted and what is not.

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