UH Hilo pharmacy college launches medication education and disposal project for elderly

The statewide project, headed by the UH Hilo pharmacy college, is funded through an Opioid and Medication Education and Disposal grant focused on educating the elderly about simple alternatives to the disposal of unused medications.

Group stands for photo at launch of program.
Carolyn Ma (center right), dean of the UH Hilo pharmacy college, along with students and supporters, kicked off the AmerisourceBergen Drug Destruction grant program for One Kalakaua Senior Living and Arcadia Senior Living Center, Oct. 30, Honolulu. Courtesy photo.

The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo launched the AmerisourceBergen Drug Destruction grant at One Kalakaua Senior Living and Arcadia Senior Living Center on Oct. 30, Honolulu. The project is funded through The Opioid and Medication Education and Disposal project, a grant to support educational events about simple alternatives to dispose of unused medications. Unused medications in households and at patient care facilities expose residents to potential harm due to mistaken ingestion and increase the potential for theft and assault.

The project is designed to fit local communities on Hawai‘i Island, Kaua‘i, Maui, and O‘ahu. The goals are to educate the public on why it’s important to safely dispose unused medications and show options on how to do that. Student pharmacists from the college are attending health fairs and visiting senior centers and government-funded senior day care centers throughout the four counties to distribute educational materials and teach seniors proper disposal of medications.

Carolyn Ma, dean of the college, is principal investigator on the grant, which was awarded through a competitive grant process. The program is funded through a $25,000 grant by the AmerisourceBergen Foundation, the not-for-profit charitable giving arm of AmerisourceBergen, and through the Foundation’s Opioid Resource Grant Program that supports nonprofits fight against opioid misuse.

Ma says many people don’t realize that unused drugs in their medicine cabinet, especially those with addictive qualities, can lead to accidental overdoses or intentional misuse by anyone with access. “How to dispose of unused medications in a responsible manner to our ʻāina in a safe way has become a common question. This funding will help us expand our ability to educate our community and highlight our expertise.”

From the pharmacy college’s Instagram, some info about the Oct. 30 launch event:

OCTOBER 30, 2019

Dean Ma and students kicked off the Amerisource Bergen Drug Destruction grant at One Kalakaua and Arcadia Senior Living Center this past Monday. The grant is meant to educate seniors on safe medication storage and destruction to promote a safer environment. Since many seniors cannot travel to the drug boxes at police stations, CVS, or DEA drug take back events, we brought the service to them! We provided a discussion about the college and safe medication disposal before collecting their unwanted medications. We then used dispose RX packets to destroy them.

Dean Ma, Dr. Sumida and students are pictured [above] with Mrs. Marion Okada. Mrs. Okada’s husband was a pharmacist/pharmacologist in Japan, and she is a great supporter of our college. She is an Arcadia at home member and helped to set up the presentation at Arcadia, where almost 50 seniors were at the presentation and drug destruction event.

At One Kalakaua, we were able to provide education and drug destruction where our Pharmacy Practice faculty Dr. Kawakami has been giving quarterly pharmacy presentations for the past 2 years. This is a great way to give back to our donor, Mr. Walter Kam, and his fellow residents there. On an annual basis, Mr. Kam’s generous donations help to fund the PCA Compounding boot camp as well as NAPLEX review.

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