Population-Based Health Clinical


Kelsie Hildebrand, General Reporter

Join the Nursing program and local law enforcement on March 10th to dispose of unused or expired medications safely to avoid any accidental poisonings in the home. In the Memorial Union and Wilkerson commons, there will be booths set up from 11 am to 2 pm for anyone looking to drop off unwanted medications or learn more about medication safety.  

“The goal is to bring awareness to medications within homes and promote you to bring expired medications whether they are over the counter or prescription drugs in drop, pill, or ointment form to a safe place where they can be disposed of,” Nursing Student Taylen Thompson said. “Just throwing them in the garbage is not going to deter them; there are safe ways to dispose of medications at home such as putting them in a bag of water to dissolve them.” 

Other opportunities to dispose of medications safely are to bring them to appropriate places such as pharmacies and the police departments in your community. Safe Kids, Grand Forks does takeback events throughout the year for people dropping off unused or expired medications properly.  

“We have found through working with Carma Hanson (Coordinator for Safe Kids, Grand Forks) that medications are the leading cause of poisonings in children, and a lot of people assume that it is detergents or cleaning supplies which is not the case,” Nursing Student Ashley Vollmer said. “It is actually medications, so we are trying to get medications out of the home if they are expired.” 

The local law enforcement will take the medications after the takeback event is done to incinerate them and use proper disposal techniques, so they do not end up in landfills or the community water system. The nursing program will be there to spread awareness and information on medication safety to the student body and faculty, and everyone bringing medications for disposal will be entered into a drawing to win a Grub Hub, Impact Nutrition, Target, or Starbucks gift card.  

“The nursing students see their role as health care providers not just to simply give their patients their prescriptions as they are leaving the hospital, but their role needs to be taken a step further,” Coordinator for Safe Kids, Grand Forks Carma Hanson said. “Their role should be a couple things: how to properly dispense or deliver medications and measure properly, how to store medications properly, and how to get rid of medications properly if you do not need them.” 

The nursing program is also giving out free cabinet locks to anyone seeking ways to keep over the counter and prescription medications stored safely because medications are the number one cause of poisoning in children, which go far beyond prescription medications to eyedrops, laxative, or fever reducing medications such as Tylenol.  


Kelsie Hildebrand is a Dakota Student General Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected].