Have you ever tried to take back your unused or expired drugs/medications to a local pharmacy and were turned away as you were told, sorry our pharmacy does not accept this type of waste? You may have unfortunately had a family member pass away and as you are cleaning out their home, you run across all of the medications that were collected and stored over the years as often times the ultimate user of the drug hangs on to and/or stockpiles these medications thinking that they can be used at a later time, but this never happens. You will run across the same issue trying to return your family members drugs to the pharmacy. This can become a very frustrating process and often times the unused or expired drugs/medications end up either in the trash or being flushed down the toilet thus dispersing the chemicals in those medications into our water stream.
There are solutions to address the above issues/concerns from the public. In September of 2014, the Secure and Responsible Drug Act of 2010 came into effect which allowed more available options for ultimate user drug disposal. This ruling allowed retail pharmacies and clinics/hospitals with on-site pharmacies to change their DEA registration to “Authorized Collectors” thus allowing these entities to place approved and compliant DEA Kiosk receptacles in their places of business. Prior to this ruling, the most common way for an ultimate user who wanted to dispose of unused and/or expired drugs in the correct manner was to find out when local law enforcement would be holding a “take back” event which generally occur only a few times per year for a limited timeframe on the day of the take back. Take back events remain a viable option for ultimate users, however, the goal is to allow an ultimate user more flexibility to dispose of their unused or expired drugs. You could literally go to the pharmacy to get a new prescription filled and while visiting, also drop off your unused or expired drugs/medications into the Kiosk receptacle thus taking care of two needs at one time.
There are growing concerns from multiple sectors concerning drug disposal options due to the following:
- CPD’s (Controlled Prescription Drugs) continue to be of concern with drug abuse for age groups 12-17 as often times the CPD’s are not locked away in their home and are the most convenient option to get their hands on.
- Flushing of medications down the drain means that small traces of these medications to include antibiotics, hormones and other drugs are getting into the drinking water as the water treatment plants do not have filtration systems that can effectively eliminate all of these substances. The Environmental Protection Agency is also proposing new hazardous waste rules that are intended to substantially mitigate healthcare facilities from flushing/ sewering their pharmaceutical waste down the drain. These proposed rules are currently in the comment period and are projected once finalized to eliminate more than 6,400 tons of hazardous waste from our water systems.
Assured Waste Solutions is at the forefront of these needed changes with our MedDrop program. MedDrop is a DEA compliant kiosk receptacle that can be placed into an authorized collectors place of business. Assured Waste Solutions if registered with the DEA as a Reverse Distributor and is approved to take back all of the waste collected through the MedDrop program. Assured Waste Solutions provides the kiosk bundles for each kiosk and once received back at Assured Waste Solutions, places the waste in our DEA approved vault. The waste is then correctly transferred to an approved incinerator to properly dispose of the waste. Although pharmacies are not mandated to place kiosk receptacles into their place of business, by doing so, these pharmacies are assisting each of their communities with some of the pressing concerns listed above. Can we really put a price on how many lives can be saved from this program or how much we can save the environment from the harmful effects of these substances.
If you are ready to make a difference for your community, please visit our MedDrop program page which will explain the program.
Author: Doug Bowman