Take-back Bin at CSU-Chico Helps the College Community

California leads the nation in addressing issues that are vital to the public health and safety, and the environment

by Allen Pierleoni

“Everybody loves it because it’s easily accessible and the process is anonymous and non-judgmental.”

Anel Anderson, Lead pharmacist, CSU, Chico

One crucial piece is the California Statewide Drug Take-Back Program, funded by the California Department of Health Care Services and administered by the California Product Stewardship Council.

The program targets the opioid crisis and the mishandling of other controlled and over-the-counter drugs. At its heart is a statewide network of Medication Take-Back Bins, placed in law-enforcement agencies, pharmacies, and hospitals for public use.

Anyone can anonymously deposit unused and expired pharmaceuticals into the bins, rather than endanger the environment and possibly lives by flushing them down the toilet, throwing them in the trash, or stockpiling them at home. The discarded drugs are incinerated at waste-to-renewable-energy plants.

In one way or another, thousands of people across California touch this chain of events, including Anel Anderson, lead pharmacist at California State University, Chico. She was instrumental in getting a take-bin placed inside the campus Student Health Center Pharmacy in October 2019, single-handedly acquiring the funding.

“One of the reasons we wanted the bin is because our student population is one of the highest age groups for coming into contact with medications they shouldn’t,” Anderson says. “Our objective was to take away access to such medication that’s laying around and not being used.”

For instance, when students move out of dormitories at the end of a semester, “often they have leftover medication that was prescribed to them during the school year,” she says. “What to do with it becomes an issue. The take-back bin is ideal for that.”

Though the general public can access the bin, it’s primarily used by CSU-Chico students, staff, and faculty, Anderson says. “Everybody loves it because it’s easily accessible and the process is anonymous and non-judgmental,” she says. “People are very thankful for a safe place to dispose of medications.”

To find a take-back bin near you, visit https://www.takebackdrugs.org/.
To learn about California Product Stewardship Council’s many programs, visit https://www.calpsc.org/