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Lockboxes Available to UM Students for Prescription Medications

An Ole Miss student picks up a free prescription drug lockbox from campus Pharmacy Health Services. Photo by Kendall Patterson

University of Mississippi students can pick up a free prescription drug lockbox at the campus Pharmacy Health Services.

The lockboxes became available after the Center for Wellness Education conducted a College Prescription Drug Survey on the Ole Miss campus. The results confirmed that students are gaining access to prescription medications – for recreational use or self-medication – from friends and peers, said Erin Cromeans, assistant director of wellness education.

“We were finally provided the data to support the need for this type of program support,” Cromeans said.

The survey found that only 9.2 percent of students say they keep their medications secured.

“Our campus results from the College Prescription Drug Survey indicated that nearly 20 percent of student respondents took pain medications without a friend, peer or relative knowing,” said Peter Tulchinsky, director of campus recreation. “The lockboxes can help our students feel more confident about the security of their prescriptions.”

With opioid abuse becoming a national health crisis in recent years, many colleges continually update programs and initiatives to support the student population and combat prescription drug abuse, Cromeans said.

Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health inducates that the average age for initiation of prescription drug use falls within the traditional college student years. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.

“(Wellness Education) saw an immediate need for our campus and actively began finding solutions,” Cromeans said. “It is a piece of our multifaceted approach to substance use and abuse on a college campus.

“Lessening access to prescriptions can lessen the use for recreational or self-medication purposes.”

Each lockbox is 5.5 by 7.5 by 3.1 inches and has a four-digit combination lock. Students can register their combination, so they can retrieve it if they forget.

Students can pick up a free lockbox during operating hours at the Pharmacy Health Services.

“This program and initiative is a reflection of committed work and dedication of the William Magee Center for Wellness Education,” Cromeans said. “We want to thank the MPACC (Mississippi Prevention Alliance for Communities and Colleges) Coalition, in which we are a member, and Communicare for the procurement of the prescription lockboxes for our students.”

By Kendall Patterson

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