by Stacey Flax
Project Rx: A River Remedy is a great example of a local event that helps protect the environment. The community collaboration that this event has grown into is such a wonderful way for us to safeguard the rivers, lakes, and streams that our beautiful region has to offer. Greenville is known for the downtown area, parks, and scenery, as well as the aquatic tranquility that surrounds us. We want to protect our local waterways and ensure that future generations will also be able to enjoy the natural beauty and resources of our area.
Project Rx provides a very valuable service to the community, not only by offering a proper drug disposal method for Upstate residents, but also a valuable educational opportunity. Medications have a negative impact on waterways and aquatic life when they are not properly disposed. Limiting the amount of medications in our waterways and utilizing a proper disposal method, will help us preserve the environment and improve the health of the community as a whole. For a long time, flushing medications or throwing them in the trash were considered acceptable disposal methods, and people did not realize the environmental risks associated with them. It is our hope that Project Rx will educate the community and bring awareness to these issues.
When Project Rx first originated, we were hoping to launch a campaign that would continue to grow every year and provide a valuable service to the community.
Project Rx has done just that… it has been a huge success and we now have partnered with many organizations and each event is better than the last.
We really didn’t know what to expect when we held our first Project Rx in 2010. We were all pleasantly surprised that we had over 180 cars drive through our event and drop off over 200 lbs of medication. A lot of the participants who came also wanted to share their stories with us and explain why they were dropping off the medications. We heard about the loss of someone’s mother to cancer, another’s friend battle with HIV — they didn’t know what to do with the leftover medication and supplies. The event was a bit of closure for them.
Project Rx is more than an educational event; it is serving a community need.
I remember one of the cars that pulled up at the inaugural event and the gentleman inside asked if he could pull over and take out the medication himself. He had been waiting for years on a disposal option so that he could finally “let go” of the last items he had held onto from his significant other who had passed away from illness. He said that he felt such a comforting release by finally letting go of the medication: “At last, I can move on.” This brought tears to many of the volunteers’ eyes and left an imprint on everyone involved. This is another reason why Project Rx is needed in the community.
To build upon the momentum, we have held five events since then and look forward to the next one on Saturday, October 26th. As of today, Project Rx events have collected a combined 7,534 lbs of unwanted medications for proper disposal – approximately the weight of a killer whale. As large as this number seems, it is only the first step to solving a big environmental problem. We need to continue providing a safe and free medication disposal option for our community. We invite all Upstate residents to participate in our upcoming event, and reach out to their friends and family to do the same.
So we urge you to go home, find your expired or unwanted medications, and bring them to Project Rx on October 26th from 10 am to 2 pm for free and safe disposal. We have multiple sites that are listed on our website, one of which is our McAlister Square location. Visit aRiverRemedy.org for more information and bring your meds for drop-off!