The Project Rx Story

In early 2010, a group of local organizations gathered together to discuss an issue that hadn’t yet been acknowledged in the Upstate: proper medication disposal.

Several months later, the initial collaboration resulted in the first Project Rx: A River Remedy collection event in November 2010. For the first time, Greenville County residents were provided with a safe alternative for disposing of unused prescription drugs. More than 400 pounds of medications were collected and disposed of safely.

The original Project Rx planning partners included Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, Greenville County Rx 2014Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County Medical Society, Greenville Family Partnership, Greenville Technical College, Renewable Water Resources and the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

While each organization has their own reasoning for participating in Project Rx – be it environmental protection, pharmaceutical education or drug abuse prevention – they all had the same ultimate purpose: to safely dispose of unused medications to keep our community safe and healthy.

The traditional drug take back days continued for several years, collecting 10,866 lbs of medication over the span of nine events. While the traditional events continued to be highly successful, the individuals behind Project Rx sought to expand the initiative even further.

In 2016, the first permanent Project Rx drug disposal bin opened at Greenville Memorial Hospital to allow a convenient disposal option for community residents, open 24/7. Because of our partnership with Greenville Health System,  we are continuing to add more drop-box bins around Greenville County to better serve the community. To find a drug disposal bin near you, visit our Locations page.

While the face of Project Rx has evolved, our goals remains the same: to offer the Upstate community a free and safe way to properly dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

To stay up to date with current Project Rx happenings, check back to our website or follow @ARiverRemedy on social media.

Drop-box Locations

We are pleased to provide permanent locations for safe drug disposal open 24/7 in the Upstate. 

Rx 2014Greenville Health System (GHS) Memorial Medical Campus
 701 Grove Road
Greenville, SC 29605

Greenville County Law Enforcement Center
4 McGee Street
Greenville, SC 29601

Greer Memorial Hospital
830 S Buncombe Road
Greer, SC 29650

Oconee Medical Center 
298 Memorial Drive
Seneca, SC 296724

Hillcrest Memorial Hospital – Coming soon!
729 SE Main Street
Simpsonville, SC 29681

Laurens County Memorial Hospital – Coming soon!
22725 US-76
Clinton, SC 29325

Patewood Memorial Hospital – Coming soon!
175 Patewood Drive
Greenville, SC 29615

 

How to Participate

Using our Project Rx drop-boxes are simple.  By following the steps below, you can make a difference in our community.

 

Collect Unused Medications

STEP 1: GATHER YOUR OLD MEDICINE

Be sure to check your medicine cabinets or any other location that medicine may be stored. Gather all of your household’s medications for disposal. This includes unwanted or expired prescriptions, over-the-counter (OTC) medications and even pet medication!

Please keep all medication in its original, labeled container to  ensure proper disposal. 

 

Pop out Pills

If the pills are individually wrapped in plastic or foil, carefully pop out all of the pills and put them in a sealed Ziploc bag. Please bring all of the original boxes and containers to the drop- box location for drug identification purposes.



Mark Off Personal InformationSTEP TWO: REMOVE PERSONAL INFORMATION

Black out all of your personal information on the label with a dark, permanent marker. Please leave drug information available to see for sorting purposes. 


STEP THREE: DROP OFF

Once your medication is gathered and ready to go, bring them to your nearest Project Rx drug disposal bin. Check out our  FAQ page or Locations for more information. 

 

F. A. Q. s

 

Question: What is a permanent drug disposal bin?

Answer: Permanent drugs disposal bins provide a safe option for community members to responsibly dispose of unused or expired medications. Individuals can bring old prescriptions to the bins at their own convenience. 

Question:  Where are the bins located? 

Answer: We are constantly working to add more permanent disposal bins to help better serve our community. Visit our locations page to find a drug disposal bin near you.

 

Question:  Will Project Rx still hold take-back day events?

Answer:  As of 2016, Project Rx will solely focus on using permanent drug disposal bins to collect unused and expired medication from the community. To learn about the history of Project Rx and past drug take back days, read about the Project Rx story

Question: What happens to medication after it is disposed into a Project Rx bin?

Answer: Law enforcement is a big part of Project Rx to ensure the safety and security of our initiative. We proudly work in partnership with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). DEA Agents properly dispose of the collected medications by incineration. 

Question: Does incineration  cause air pollution?

Answer:  Incineration is currently the safest way to dispose of medications. It is also the same process used by law enforcement  for illicit drug disposal. The  incineration process is much more sophisticated than tossing medication into a fire. Law enforcement and other disposal companies advanced equipment with an extensive filtration process to prevent air pollution. 

 

Question: Can I volunteer at an event?

Answer: We appreciate the community’s interest in supporting the event. Due to security and safety reasons, we have strict protocols for who is allowed to work with Project Rx. Instead, we ask you to support us in promotionin your community and on social media. 

Did You Know?


that pouring medications down the drain can harm the environment?

Wastewater treatment plants aren’t able to filter out all types or amounts of medications that are often flushed or poured down the drain. Sometimes, trace elements of the medication can disrupt the balance of life in our lakes, rivers and streams.

each person in the US fills an average of 12 prescriptions a year?

With Greenville County’s population of approximately 450,000 people, that means we bring home more than 5 million prescriptions each year. Plus there are millions more over-the-counter drugs. A lot of the medications go unused.

every day, an estimated 2,500 youth in the US misuse some form of medication for the first time?

70% of the teens who abuse medication report obtaining it from a friend or family member.

over 700,000 emergency room visits are due to the non-medical usage of prescription and over-the-counter drugs?

Teens often abuse prescription or over-the-counter drugs because they believe them to be a “safer” high than illegal drugs.


Other Resources:

NIDA (National Institute for Drug Abuse) For Teens: teens.drugabuse.gov

ONDCP (Office of National Drug Control Policy):  www.ondcp.gov

Partnership for a Drug-Free America:  www.drugfree.org

Parents – The Anti-Drug:  www.theantidrug.com

Painfully Obvious:  www.painfullyobvious.org

Addiction 411: http://www.addiction411.com/teaching-kids-about-drugs-and-alcohol/

What’s the Risk?

Sadly, too many people flush or pour leftover medications down the drain. Even trace amounts of these drugs can disrupt the balance of life in our lakes, rivers and streams.  Scientific studies have found that even extremely diluted concentrations of pharmaceutical residues can cause harm to fish, frogs and other aquatic species in the wild. Related research reports that human cells fail to grow normally in the lab when exposed to trace concentrations of certain drugs, raising concerns about the long-term impacts on human health. (see http://www.epa.gov/ppcp/)

Lacking a safe method to dispose of medications, many people leave them sitting in the medicine cabinet – out of sight, out of mind. At our fifth drug take-back event in Fall 2012, we received prescription medication dating from 1960 – 52 years waiting for a solution! The problem with holding on to medications is the potential for them to find their way out of our homes and onto our streets, making our neighborhoods unsafe.

So what can be done? Can we take steps to address and reduce the harmful impacts of these medications on our waterways, our streets, our homes, and our community?

The life cycle of medication should end with proper disposal.  We need individual support in changing behavior and organizational support in changing policies. With your help, and through awareness, education, and take-back events, we can keep our neighborhoods and environment safe from the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

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