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UMKC FBI Student Academy brings awareness to opioid epidemic


Sarah Abney and Daisy Garcia Montoya

UMKC’s FBI Student Academy held a seminar last week to warn future pharmacists about their responsibility in preventing prescription drug abuse and the opioid crisis.

The seminar featured Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who discussed their recent work in fighting the illegal distribution of opioids through doctor and pharmacist networks.

DEA agents shared information with the audience about the ongoing drug epidemic in the United States. The U.S. produces and prescribes more than 79,000 kg of opioids a year, ranking as the highest drug manufacturing country in the world.

During the seminar, the DEA addressed the issue and highlighted the importance of pharmacists in drug abuse. Pharmacists are the last licensed line of defense towards preventing controlled substance drugs from entering an addict or seller’s pocket.

“It is something that I do think about a lot…we care about our patients and our profession, so to come to all of these events are important for us to grow as pharmacy students,” said pharmacy student Hadia Malik. “I am coming to these events because I want to take care of my patients as best as I can. This is a part of it, being aware of what is going on.”

Pharmacy student Cody Ankney agreed. 

“It is a responsibility thing, because we are responsible to our patients and providing the best care that we can,” Ankney said. “Even if it involves doing a little bit more digging, you know, if we are dealing with a patient who is abusing medications.”

“This event is especially important,” said criminology and political science student Sarah Towakoli. “The age demographics presented of those affected by it are in their adult years. That is within the next 10 years for some of us. No matter who you are, the opioid epidemic does not discriminate. It is happening to more and more people. It is something to be aware of.”

Another topic of the evening was an issue at the center of opioid abuse: unused and expired medications that remain in households.

“One of the main causes of this crisis is having unused medication in their cabinets. People who aren’t supposed to have it get their hands on it,” Towakoli said.

The DEA agents encouraged students to return all unused or expired medication. There are available days in order to properly dispose of such medications with law enforcement. If you are wishing to dispose of unused or expired medication, the next upcoming National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 25.

The FBI Student Academy hosts their next session discussing Trial Preparation and Testimony on March 3 at 5:30 p.m. in the School of Law Courtroom. All students wishing to attend are recommended to RSVP.

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