St. Louis College of Pharmacy4588 Parkview Place * St. Louis, MO 63110 * Summary:• On April 26, thousands of locations around the country will accept unused medications.• will point you to disposal locations and additional information.• Addicts now hooked on heroin and cocaine often start by stealing pain medication from home.• Satellite, telephone, and email interviews available.

Newswise — (St. Louis)- Americans spend nearly $1,100 per person on prescription and over-the-counter medications every year, and much of it is left in cabinets, drawers, or forgotten.

“Unused medication should not be left sitting around the house for several reasons,” says Amy Tiemeier, Pharm.D., BCPS, associate professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. “It could be the target for thieves. Medication can also weaken over time, lose effectiveness, and prevent you from reaching your health goals.”

Additionally, there is a safety concern with some medications, especially powerful pain relievers. Police say a vast majority of heroin and other narcotics addicts start their addictive behavior by abusing prescription pain medication. Today 2,700 teens will abuse a prescription drug for the first time. They join the nearly 7 million Americans who already abuse prescription medications.

“There’s a mistaken belief among teens that because a medication is prescribed or is available over-the-counter, it is safer than illegal drugs,” Tiemeier says. “If patients are concerned about medications falling into the wrong hands, lock it in a drawer or keep it with you at all times. However once out of sight, it’s easy to forget the next dose. To remember to take your medication, set an appointment on the calendar of your phone or leave a note on the front door or refrigerator.”

In the last four years, the DEA has disposed of more than 6,000 pounds of medication from St. Louis area homes and collected more than three million pounds across the country. Tiemeier says the best way to safely destroy medication is with an organization that incinerates the medications. Water treatment plants were not designed to filter out the active ingredients in medications.

The next nationwide medication disposal day is Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

To support year-round medication disposal efforts, the College launched, a website devoted to proper medication disposal. The site will point consumers, no matter where they live in the country, to the closest disposal location for the April 26 event. The site also has information about proper disposal of needles and other sharps.

“All of us should look at our medications,” Tiemeier says. “If they’re no longer needed, expired, or could be stolen, take them to drop off sites.”

About St. Louis College of Pharmacy: Founded in 1864, St. Louis College of Pharmacy is the region’s only independent college of pharmacy. The College is the fourth oldest and 10th largest college of pharmacy in America. Founded by luminaries such as Henry Shaw, St. Louis College of Pharmacy has been partnering with other recognized leaders to care for the health of our region’s citizens for 150 years. Located in the heart of one of the world’s finest biomedical research and patient-care centers, the College provides innovative education, research, and career opportunities for students. The College is viewed by leaders of other premier academic and health care organizations as a critical component needed to deliver high quality patient-centered care. The curriculum integrates the liberal arts and sciences alongside introductory and advanced practice experiences where students can develop expertise and become leaders in the profession and their communities. Beginning in the fall of 2014, the curriculum will expand to three undergraduate years and four years of the professional program. Graduates will earn a Bachelor of Science degree after four years, and a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) at the completion of their studies. The College admits students directly from high school and accepts transfer students and graduates from other colleges and universities. More than 1,300 students are currently enrolled from 28 states and several countries, including Canada, China, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, and Vietnam. College alumni practice throughout the nation and in 13 different countries, providing a strong network to assist students with their goals. Additional information is available at