DEA Approves Expanded Ways to Dispose of Old and Unwanted Medications

There is a new DEA regulation approved that allows consumers expanded ways to dispose of old and unwanted medications. For many people the only way to dispose of old, unwanted or expired medications was to flush them down the toilet, throw them away in the trash or take them to the local police station. Now the DEA is making it easier to get rid of unwanted drugs by consumers by allowing them to drop them off at their local pharmacies. The new DEA mandate will allow pharmacies to collect old prescription medications including narcotics and pain killers. This will allow consumers a safe and effective way to dispose of them in the future. It will also alleviate environmental concerns that currently revolve around disposal of medications in the garbage and toilet. By federal regulations in the past narcotics could not be taken back or returned to pharmacies for disposal. Under the new regulation that takes effect in a month, local community pharmacies and drugstores can serve as collection points for unused narcotics. This also includes hospitals with pharmacies and even drug treatment centers.

It is important to note that many consider the change long overdue. In 2013 alone there were over 230 million prescriptions written for narcotic pain killers in the United States. More people died in 2013 from drug over-doses than from car accidents. Dr. G. Caleb Alexander (Director of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Drug Safety) made the point that “It’s baffling that it’s so easy to get a prescription for opioids and yet so difficult to dispose of these drugs safely”. Although the new rule is primarily focused on the disposal of unused narcotics, a DEA spokesman confirmed that it would also apply to the return of other drugs by consumers. It is important to note that there is no requirement for pharmacy participation. However, we at Healthcare Consultants strongly urge all pharmacies to get involved. Participation in this program would allow a local pharmacy to be involved in their community and to garner goodwill by providing a new and valuable service to it’s patients. It would also allow a pharmacy to distribute promotional and educational materials in their local community to patients and potential customers explaining how the program works and discussing the benefits of correct drug disposal.

As always, Healthcare Consultants is here to help. If you need assistance in any way or would like to talk about ideas on how to get started and participate in the new collection program….. call us today! With over 25 years experience in Pharmacy Consulting, HCC can of course help you answer any questions that you may have. Call us today at 800-642-1652 to talk with a customer service representative for a free consultation.

Bob Miller
9/16/2014


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