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Medicines (prescription and over the counter) play an instrumental role in treating many conditions and diseases, but when medications are no longer needed it is important to dispose of them properly, to avoid harm to others and to the environment. Take expired, unwanted or unused medicines to Medication Return Boxes located within designated pharmacies, police departments and ASU's Tempe Police Station, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. To locate other disposal boxes, please click on the hyperlink to locate the nearest medication drop box locations and hours of operation within Arizona.
Items NOT accepted at the medication return boxes are glass containers, inhalers, intravenous solutions, injectable drugs and syringes due to potential hazards posed by blood-borne pathogens.
86.3% of ASU students surveyed had not abused prescription drugs during the previous 12 months.
When asked whether they had used prescription drugs not prescribed to them during the past 12 months:
3.5% had abused sedatives (e.g. Xanax, Valium)
6.6% had abused stimulants (e.g. Ritalin, Adderall)
6.2% had abused pain killers(e.g. Opioids, Vicodin, Codeine)
Prescription Drug Abuse and Academic Performance:
ASU students who abuse prescription drugs are significantly less likely to have an "A" grade point average. In a recent survey, 6.6% of ASU respondents reported using Adderall or Ritalin-type medications without a prescription in the last year. Of those students who reported using stimulants in the past year, 33% reported an "A" cumulative grade point average, compared to 50% of non-users.Sources: American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment: Arizona State University Spring 2017. Baltimore: American College Health Association; Spring 2017 (n=2,096).
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription drug abuse means taking a prescription medication that is not prescribed for you, or taking it for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed.Prescription drugs are powerful and misuse can lead to many unintentional effects, including illness, addiction and perhaps even accidental death.
Prescription drugs are powerful and misuse can lead to many unintentional effects, including illness, addiction and perhaps even accidental death.
The most common type of prescription drugs that are abused fall into three categories:
Prescription drug abuse is increasing across the United States and even locally here with in Arizona.
While most college students choose not to abuse prescription drugs, approximately 1 in 4 people between the ages of 18-20 report having abused prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime (SAMSHA, 2008). However, nationwide, college students tend to grossly overestimate the percentage of their peers that abuse prescription drugs (ACHA, 2010).
Students who abuse stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta) report doing so for either recreational or academic purposes (Teter et al, 2006). However, regardless of their motive, students who do not abuse presecription stimulants are significantly less likely to report being depressed than those who do (Teter et al., 2010).
American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment: Arizona State University Spring 2017. Baltimore: American College Health Association; Spring 2017 (n=2,096).
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings. Rockville: United States Department of Health and Human Services; 2008.
Teter, C.J., Falone, A.E., Cranford, J.A., Boyd, C.J., & McCabe, S.E. (2010). Nonmedical use of prescription stimulants and depressed mood among college students: Frequency and routes of administration. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 38(3), 292-98.
Teter, C.J., McCabe, S.E., LaGrange, K., & Cranford, A. (2006). Illicit use of specific prescription stimulants among college students: Prevalence, motives, and routes of administration. Pharmacology, 26(10), 1501-10.
Prescription Drug Mixing
Prescription drug interactions can vary, but when mixed with other drugs or alcohol, the hazards can be potentially dangerous. In fact, students who abuse multiple prescription drugs or mix prescription drugs with alcohol, are significantly more likely to experience alcohol or drug related problems (McCabe et al., 2006).
Even interactions with prescription drugs and over the counter cold medicine or asthma medication can be harmful. Always ask your doctor, pharmacist or other medical professional about drug interactions, including those between alcohol and prescription medications.
McCabe, S.E., Cranford, J.A., Morales, M., & Young, A. (2006). Simultaneous and concurrent polydrug use of alcohol and prescription drugs: Prevalence, correlates, and consequences. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 67(4), 529-37.
Concerned about prescription misuse or abuse?
Have you been taking prescription medication not prescribed to you? Have you not followed the prescription directions on how to properly take the prescription medication? Take an online survey through the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. if you are curious if you have a prescription drug abuse problem and/or be seen at ASU counseling services to address their use of marijuana.
Concerned about a friend’s prescription medications use?
Some people believe because prescription medications are safe to use, legal, and less addictive than illicit drugs. However misuse of prescription drugs can lead to a serious addiction. To help a friend it is important to recognize signs associated with prescription drug abuse:Common behavior changes associated with prescription drug abuse:
If your friend is exhibiting signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse, remember to approach in a nonjudgmental, empathetic manner. Encourage them to take an online survey through the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. to see if they have a prescription drug abuse problem and/or be seen at ASU counseling services to address their use of marijuana.
If a person is unconscious for any reason take action and call 911 immediately! Never assume the person will "sleep it off." They could be experiencing drug or alcohol poisoning, have an underlying medical condition, be having an allergic reaction, or have been drugged and your decision to call 911 could save a life. Once 911 is called, turn the person onto their side in a fetal position to help prevent them from choking. Stay with the person until help arrives and be prepared to provide truthful information to health care workers.
Remember when a person is unconscious it is best to call for help, take action... you won't regret this decision.
StepUp! ASU is an online education video aimed to educate students to be active participants in helping others to reduce risk and prevent harm. Attend this training to learn how to step up when others are in need or become a StepUp Trainer.
Proper Disposal of Unused Prescription Medications
Do you have any unused, unwanted or expired prescription or over-the counter medications? Have you ever wondered what you should do with them? Throwing old medications away or flushing them down the toilet can be harmful to the environment. A better option is to bring your old medicine to a local collection site for safe disposal. The Arizona State University Police Department has joined police agencies across the Phoenix area in a new program that provides collection containers for people to drop off unused prescription medicines.
How do I participate?
Place the medications you wish to dispose of in a plastic zip lock bag and bring them to the ASU Police Department located at ASU Tempe at 325 E. Apache Blvd. You may leave pills in the original container or put them directly in the bag. Remove or black-out prescription labels if you do not wish to have your name on the medications. Solid and liquid medications are accepted, but liquids such as cough syrup should remain sealed in original containers. Please seal the cap tightly to prevent leakage.
Why is it important?
Proper disposal of medication can prevent accidental use or intentional misuse of these drugs. The medicine cabinets of family and friends are a common source of medication for drug abuser. There is also concern that medications placed in the trash or flushed down the toilet can enter our water and food supply. Proper disposal of medicine prevents both environmental consequences and abuse.
Are there any off-campus unused prescription medication collection sites?
Off campus medication drop boxes are available throughout Arizona, please continue to utilize this service even when not on campus.