Many Pharmacies Don’t Provide Instructions on How to Dispose of Unused Opioids
Many pharmacies don’t provide patients with instructions on how to properly dispose of unused opioids and antibiotics, according to a new study.
The next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will be held on September 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has announced.
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.
Collection sites will be announced on September 1, the DEA said.
During the ninth Prescription Drug Take-Back Day last September, DEA and its partners collected 209 tons of pills. That brought the total amount of drugs collected over four years to 2,411 tons, or 4,823,251 pounds.
According to the DEA, unused prescription medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they can be accidentally ingested, stolen, misused, and abused.
When the DEA began hosting National Prescription Drug Take-Back events, the Controlled Substances Act made no legal provision for patients and their caregivers to rid themselves of unwanted controlled substance prescription drugs except to give them to law enforcement. The law banned pharmacies and hospitals from accepting them.
Most people flushed their unused prescription drugs down the toilet, threw them in the trash, or kept them in the household medicine cabinet. This led to a contamination of the water supply and the theft and abuse of the prescription drugs, the DEA noted.
Last September, the DEA announced it would allow unused narcotic painkillers such as OxyContin to be returned to pharmacies. Consumers are also permitted to mail unused prescription medications to an authorized collector, in packages that are available at pharmacies and locations including senior centers and libraries. The new regulations are designed to curb the prescription drug abuse epidemic, the DEA said.