HARRIS COUNTY — The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office coordinated an innovative medication mail-in program via the University of Houston, local fire departments, and Harris County Commissioner’s Offices. The goal of this program is to encourage the proper disposal of prescription medication, limit the availability of high-risk prescription medications in homes, and reduce accidental poisonings and overdoses.
“This program allows community members to safely mail in unused or expired medications for proper disposal,” said Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie L. Christensen. “Fire departments are in the heart of our neighborhoods where people can easily access this program and Harris County Commissioner’s Offices are also helping pass out takeaway envelops at events and placing boxes where people need them most. There is no cost to the community or participating departments. We know this program will save lives and help protect the environment, which is why we wanted to be involved.”
Participating fire departments and commissioners’ offices were provided a box, takeaway envelopes, educational flyers, and social media graphics. Each organization was responsible for installing the box on the outside of their building, filling it with takeaway envelopes, and helping promote/educate their community about the program. Some organizations pass out takeaway bags at drive-through food sites and other events.
To use the program, simply stop by any participating location and obtain a takeaway envelope. Remove the postcard from inside the envelope and answer the questions. Place any medications you wish to dispose of inside the envelope. Seal the envelope and drop off the envelope and postcard in your mailbox or at the post office. The pre-paid envelopes are sent to a DEA registered reverse distributor and collector for proper disposal.
This project is funded through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through Texas Health and Human Services (THHSC) to the University of Houston-College of Pharmacy-Department of Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy and meets all requirements of the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010.