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Ritter's P2D2 drug disposal program expands to Brazil

Posted: Tuesday, Jan 29th, 2013

PONTIAC ╨ The award-winning National Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program (P2D2) is going international.

The P2D2 program, which was developed at Pontiac High School by students of environmental sciences teacher Paul Ritter, last year won third place in an international competition held in Sweden. While there, the students met other teens from around the world and learned about the environmental programs they had developed. The Brazilian student group, whose project won second place in Sweden, became interested in starting a P2D2 program in Brazil and has since collaborated with the students from Pontiac.

Since the creation of the P2D2 program in 2008, Ritter, a Mendota native, has been working with students, teachers, police departments, municipalities, civic groups, legislators, volunteers and pharmacies. Ritter and his students first became interested in pharmaceutical disposal after learning the alarming results of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) initiated studies. After testing 139 streams across the U.S., the USGS diagnosed high levels of drugs and hormones present in the water. Since that time, the P2D2 program has spread across the United States and now, it will have an international presence as well.

Ritter said his students are very excited to have the P2D2 program implemented in Brazil, where it will begin in Erechim, a city of nearly 98,000 people, and then hopefully extend to other cities and states in that country.

Paul Hubner, project coordinator of P2D2 ╨ BRAZIL, said Brazil also faces a serious problem with the improper disposal of medicines. ╥We will take action to raise awareness and seek partnerships in the health sector to collect and give the correct routing for these products,╙ he said.

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