Wilkes University


Best Poster at the Fifth Annual Susquehanna Valley Undergraduate Research Symposium

Sarah Fillman awarded best poster in clinical research at the fifth annual Susquehanna Valley Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Sarah Fillman, Doctor of Pharmacy class of 2017, was awarded best poster in the category of clinical research for her presentation entitled, "Evaluation of a continuous medication take back program". Ms. Fillman was one of approximately 100 presenters at the annual conference, and one of only four awardees. Ms. Fillman spent 10 weeks detailing the amount and types of medications returned to Law Enforcement locations throughout Snyder County and created a model estimating the public health impact these efforts across Pennsylvania had on drug overdoses and deaths. "Prescription drugs that go unused and remain within homes are a significant source of abuse for first-time users, who will often progress to harder street drugs", noted Ms. Fillman. According to a recent study of young IV drug abusers in Los Angeles and New York, 86% began abusing prescription drugs before becoming addicted to heroin. By removing these drugs from medicine cabinets, the potential for first-time misuse is reduced. "Based upon our model, over the 2014 through 2015 collection period we estimated that approximately 28 deaths were averted due to a portion of the total take-back in Pennsylvania, being the collection efforts by law enforcement agencies and the National Guard. We are working now to expand these take-back efforts to more convenient drop off locations, like neighborhood pharmacies." Her research was conducted at Geisinger Health System's Precision Health Center in Forty Fort, PA under the mentorship of Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Dr. Eric Wright. "Sarah's research was an important and necessary step in our plans to expand medication take-back programs in our geographical region. Understanding what is being returned and the impact that could have on drug abuse and misuse is important in helping our community and stemming the growing tide of prescription drug abuse in our society." Ms. Fillman has plans to continue these efforts throughout the 2015-2016 academic school year. If you have any interest in learning more or being a part of medication take-back efforts, please contact Sarah Fillman at sarah.fillman@wilkes.edu or Dr. Eric Wright at eric.wright@wilkes.edu.