CONCORD, NC—From April 20–22, 2021, Cabarrus County (N.C.) seniors delivered nearly 60 pounds of unused and expired prescriptions to local LunchPlus Club sites.
The events were organized by Cabarrus County community paramedics to educate seniors on medication disposal and to provide resources from the EMS “Do the Right Thing” program, which teaches proper prescription management.
Community paramedics and the LunchPlus Club are programs of Cabarrus County government.
When EMS Capt. Kara Clarke ran through scenarios, she realized the county’s LunchPlus Clubs would be the best way to connect with seniors. Each weekday, local seniors receive a free meal at drive-thru sites in Concord, Midland, Harrisburg, Kannapolis, Mt. Pleasant and Northwest Cabarrus, N.C. The format was convenient, familiar and allowed for COVID-19 safety, according to a release.
The seniors were grateful for the opportunity remove the medications from their home, the release states.
“The senior population is the group most likely to be in possession of unused and expired medications,” said Clarke. “Our community is aware of the opioid epidemic and they don’t want unnecessary medications in their homes, but many seniors don’t know how to dispose of them. Some showed up with a bottle or two and others showed up with bags full. Each bottle collected helps address the crisis.”
Cabarrus County community paramedics plan to offer the LunchPlus take-back events annually and encourage community members to anonymously dispose of unused medication at local drop boxes, which are available anytime day or night.