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New Nonprofit Recycles Unused Medicines, Gives To Homeless

A new Oregon nonprofit called Sirum takes unused medicines and gives them to needy people.

And the charity’s co-founder is already at the state Legislature, trying to expand a law that allows the program.

Medicine cabinets around the state are filled with unused prescriptions, but those aren’t the drugs Adam Kircher of Sirum is looking for.

He wants the unopened, unexpired drugs that often end up as surpluses at pharmacies in Oregon.

Kircher said the medicine could get to needy patients more easily if they didn’t need to wait to pick up a prescription.

“Unfortunately the way the law works — a vulnerable person, say a homeless person — goes to a clinic, they get a prescription,” Kircher said. “Then we tell them we’re going to go look to see if we have that drug; we need to process it. 

That process can take seven days.

“Seven days for a homeless person is an eternity,” he said.

Kircher said homeless people often don’t come back and are left without the medications they need.

The Oregon Senate’s interim committee on health care is meeting ahead of the February legislative session at a possible fix.

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