ASU Police Department and ASU Wellness honor National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

ASU Police and ASU Wellness pair up to increase awareness of prescription drug misuse

ASU Wellness partnered with the ASU Police Department to commemorate National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on campus. The two organizations set up boxes on most University campuses to collect unused, unwanted or expired prescription or over-the-counter medications.

The National Take-Back Day is on Saturday, April 29, but ASU Wellness and ASU Police wanted to honor the day while students were still on campus.

ASU has participated in Take-Back Day for many years. This year, the Department placed the boxes for collection in the lobbies of the Sun Devil Fitness Complexes at Tempe, Downtown Phoenix and West campuses on April 25 and 26 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The days served as reminders for those taking prescribed medication to properly dispose of them.

National Prescription Take-Back Day is an initiative from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for misuse.

Victor Corral, health educator for ASU Wellness and coordinator of the event, said in an email that education is an important step to make change.

“It is important to educate our students on this issue, especially around this time of the semester when students may be searching for an alternative for managing stress.”

Prescribed medications like Adderall or Ritalin are most often abused by students without attention disorders who use them as study aids. But according to an ASU student survey, these drugs are ineffective in raising grades. Of the students who reported using stimulants in the past year, 33 percent reported an ‘A’ cumulative GPA, compared to 52 percent of non-users. 

Becky Garcia, ASU crime prevention officer, was stationed at Tempe’s disposal box.

“Our students need to use prescriptions the way they are prescribed, not to share them with other people and certainly not to overuse," Garcia said. "We hope that (students) will learn that they need to dispose of medications properly — flushing them down the toilet is not an option."

April Rovero, executive founder and director of the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse, became an advocate for safe disposal of prescription medication after her son Joey, a former ASU student, passed away in 2009.

Joey died after a misuse of prescription drugs at a party. He mixed Xanax and oxycodone with alcohol. She said he was the first of eight ASU students within the next year who passed away from a prescription drug-related incident.

A local doctor prescribed Joey the drugs. She was convicted of second-degree degree murder in 2015 for the deaths of three patients.

“They aren’t safer because they’ve been prescribed by a doctor,” Rovero said.

Rovero said Take-Back Day is important to educate students about the risks of misuse.

“(Take-Back Day) helps keep these pills from being diverted, going out the door in a way that can be harmful in a way for another individual," Rovero said. "They can either take them themselves, or they can either sell them to other people. It’s extremely important to educate and to get the pills rid of properly."

While Take-Back Day is this Saturday, there is a permanent drop-off receptacle in the lobby of ASU Police's Tempe location at 325 E Apache Blvd. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @Crliddle on Twitter.

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