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Prescription Medicine bottle with SerPIE Logo

SerPIE Navigation Links

What is SerPIE

  • SerPIE is the acronym for Synergistic Efforts to Reduce Pharmaceutical Impacts on the Environment
  • The program offers a one-health approach to minimizing environmental impacts.
  • SerPIE highlights the connection between pharmaceutical drugs, personal care products, and pollution by tackling tough topics like the opioid crisis and giving the public information to safeguard their home and the environment.


  • To improve literacy concerning local environmental health issues by offering resources that enable citizens to safeguard their homes and the environment from PPCPs
  • To accentuate the benefits of using safe, effective methods to dispose of expired and un
    wanted pharmaceuticals.

Activities and Components


What is the problem?

  • Pollution of soil and water resources by pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) is a serious environmental issue.
  • PPCPs are described as any product used by individuals for personal health or cosmetic reasons or used by agribusiness to enhance the growth or health of livestock.
  • PPCPs such as aspirin, caffeine, and nicotine were discovered in wastewater treatment plants more than 20 years ago. Since then, PPCPs have been detected in surface and groundwater, soils, biosolids, and drinking water worldwide.
  • Individuals and animals are largely responsible for PPCPs entering the environment through use, excretion, and improper disposal of unwanted medications via flushing or trash.
  • In 2008, the Associated Press revealed that concentrations of pharmaceutical drugs were found in the drinking water supply of nearly 41 million Americans.
  • Although the human impacts of pharmaceuticals in the environment (PIE) are inconclusive, research studies indicate that outreach programs are needed to address PIE issues.
  • Unless more action is taken, more and more PPCPs will pollute the environment and will continue to be stockpiled in homes.

*References are available upon request.

Scientist takes water samples from stream.

For more information on PPCP soil and water contaminants, proceed to: What’s in your soil and water?

Contact Us

State Office

Alabama A&M University

Dr. Karnita Garner
Office: (256) 372-8331
Email: kfg0003@aces.edu

Urban Centers

Dale and Houston Counties

Phillip Carter
Office: (256) 794-4108
Email: phillc2@aces.edu

Elmore, Autauga and Montgomery Counties

Roosevelt Robinson
Office: (256) 270-4133
Email: robinrl@aces.edu

Madison County

Dr. Karnita Garner
Office: (256) 372-8331
Email: kfg0003@aces.edu

Mobile and Baldwin Counties

Jack LeCroy
Office: (251) 574-8445
Email: jml0003@aces.edu

Morgan and Lawrence Counties

Allyson Shabel
Office: (256) 974-2464
Email: ams0137@aces.edu

Published Works

Metro News

  • Golson-Garner. K. 2012. Pharmaceuticals in the Environment. Metro News. April-June vol.9, no.3.
  • J. McCord. 2015. Long-term Health Risks of Prescription Drug Use. Metro News. July-September. Vol. 14. No. 4
  • R. Sumblin. 2015. Common Street Names for Pharmaceutical Drugs. Metro News. July-September. Vol. 15. No. 1.

Fact Sheets & Publications

  • R. Spencer and K. Golson-Garner. Livestock Medicines: Responsible Storage and Disposal. UNP-2071. ACES. September 2014. (Extension Publication/Fact Sheet)
  • Garner, K., P. Okweye, L. Kammin, S. Zach and S. Hopkinson. 2018. Utilizing a One Health Approach to Achieve Zero Pharmaceutical Waste. SerPIE One Health Conference on Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products Conference Proceedings. UNP. 2132.

Success Stories

  • K. Garner, P. Okweye and T. Warren. 2012. ACES Takes Part in Madison County’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative. Alabama Cooperative Extension System Success Story. Internet Online Publication.
  • K. Garner. 2012. Enhancing Capacity in Environmental Animal and Human Health through Extension Outreach. Alabama Cooperative Extension System Success Story. Internet Online Publication.


Information from Symposiums or Programs

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