Drug Disposal, Free Health Screenings Available at UH Sept. 29

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Drug Disposal, Free Health Screenings Available at UH Sept. 29

UH Pharmacy Students, Law Enforcement Personnel Offer Helping Hand at Public Event

(09/26/12) - UH College of Pharmacy students will offer free health screenings and "brown bag" medication reviews at the "Community Health Awareness Day" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at UH main campus near the Moores School of Music. With UH designated as an official collection site for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in cooperation with the UH Police Department, the UH community and Houston-area residents are encouraged to drop off their expired or unwanted medications for safe, proper disposal at the event.

The medication drop-off will be along the drive running between Moores and the Houston Science Center off of Cullen (click here for map); the screenings and other activities will be in the park space adjacent to Moores. Public parking will be available in Lot 16B.

During the event, UH pharmacy students will offer health screenings to include checking glucose and cholesterol levels, measuring blood pressure and performing diabetic foot exams.

"Many people are not aware of how much pharmacists can do today," said Trang Tran, APhA-ASP’s vice president of patient care. "Many of the services we provide can help improve patients’ health outcomes through medication therapy management, immunizations and various other direct patient-care services that go beyond the role of filling prescriptions. We are considered one of the most widely accessible health professionals, and we encourage everyone to take the time to 'know your medications and know your pharmacist.'"

The collaborative event also will include “brown bag” medication reviews by Pharm.D. students. This common practice allows patients to bring their medications and supplements for review by a health care professional for an opportunity to have their questions answered, identify possible drug interactions and assist them with taking medications correctly.

"It’s always important to review all of your medications with your pharmacist or primary care physician to ensure you’re taking them appropriately and to help prevent interactions with other drugs or food," said Lynn Simpson, Pharm.D., clinical associate professor and APhA-ASP faculty advisor. "By continuing to go to the same pharmacy for all your medication needs, the pharmacist can keep a log of all of the prescriptions and over-the-counter medication you are taking, and help guide you to make decisions on the best medication for you."

UHCOP students also will offer presentations on such topics as diabetes, stroke, heart attack, breast cancer, immunizations, heartburn and smoking cessation. Other activities include voter registration, family-oriented games, giveaways and raffle prizes.

Sponsored by CVS/pharmacy, the event is being organized by the UH chapter of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) with participation by every UH pharmacy student organization.

"Our participation in the National Drug Take Back program ties into our national organization’s 'Generation Rx' initiative, which promotes medication safety and prescription drug abuse prevention," said UH pharmacy student Leah Rickert, who worked with the DEA and UHPD to get UH designated as an official drug take-back collection site. "By properly disposing of expired or unwanted medications, you can help reduce the risks of substance abuse by adults or teens or accidental ingestion by children. Proper disposal of medications also reduces the potential impact to the environment and our water systems by people flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash.

"For the students participating, it reinforces the disparity between how medications are being prescribed and how patients are actually taking them. This emphasizes the importance of pharmacist-driven counseling at the time of dispensing as well following up to ensure medication adherence."