USC will host its second annual “Drug Take Back Day” on Friday, Nov. 13.
The event allows students, staff and faculty to anonymously drop off prescription drugs at local pharmacies. Participating locations include the USC Health Center Pharmacy, the USC Medical Plaza Pharmacy, and the USC Verdugo Hills Professional Pharmacy.
USC created the annual “Drug Take Back Day” last year in response to student deaths caused by accidental overdoses. The university’s event mirrors The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which occurred on Oct. 24 this year. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over half of the 9.9 million people who abused prescription drugs that year got those drugs from friends or family members.
Dr. Sarah Van Orman, USC’s Chief Health Officer, has worked to increase preventative health opportunities for students by creating additional training programs and hiring more mental health professionals. However, Van Orman said she is hoping to accomplish more.
“I think we haven’t done as much as we anticipated [for the program], given that everything sort of changed with COVID,” Van Orman said.
As students return to campus and cope with COVID-19 regulations, USC hopes to roll out a program that allows student organizations to receive overdose prevention training and individual students to receive bystander training.
In addition to the training programs, the fifth floor of the student health center hosts the new department of psychiatry. The clinic allows students struggling with addiction and various issues to get help from mental health professionals.
Drug Take Back Day is a reminder of the measures that Van Orman and USC are putting in place in order to advocate for the protection of students.
“We encourage the drug take back day as a good reminder,” Van Orman said. “We know we have a lot of students who have prescriptions … Just recognizing that even for folks who have a prescription for medical reasons it’s really important that they’re responsible for that. And we want to give people an opportunity to kind of clean out their closet so they don’t have any extra.”
USC Pharmacists also provide resources beyond the day of the event.
“Our pharmacists are always readily available to provide education, refer you to appropriate resources that either you need or you need for someone that you know,” USC Medical Plaza Pharmacy pharmacist and clinical coordinator Michelle Hormozian said.
Hormozian said students can also go to USC Pharmacies for more serious preventative measures.
“We’re also certified as pharmacists to provide naloxone and an opioid reversal agent that we use in emergency opioid overdose situations,” Hormozian said. “We can provide that to anyone, whether you yourself use opioids or, you know, someone who uses opioid. And we’re always readily available.”
For additional assistance or education on substance use and harm reduction, contact USC Student Health, 213-740-9355 (WELL) or email@example.com.