Authored By: Candace Whitman
According to Lisa Rapaport of Reuters Health, as a part of a recent study researchers contacted 898 California pharmacies to pose as consumers and ask questions about how to dispose of unused prescription medications like opioids and antibiotics. They also asked the pharmacies if they had a program to take back unused opioids and antibiotics at their pharmacy.
The study found that:
- 11% of the California pharmacies told consumers to bring their unused opioids back to the pharmacy.
- 19% told consumers to flush opioids down the toilet or return them to another drugstore for disposal.
- 19% told them to take their unused antibiotics back to the pharmacy.
- 47% told callers to return their antibiotics to another drugstore or mix them with coffee grounds, dirt, kitty litter or a similar substance, seal them and throw them away.
According to senior study author Dr. Hillary Copp of the University of California, San Francisco, prescriptions medications that are not returned or safely disposed of can be dangerous in numerous ways. Antibiotics that are not disposed of properly can contribute to pollution and antibiotic resistance.
According to Rapaport, flushing opioids is important because it “prevents them falling into the wrong hands and contributing to substance misuse, addiction and overdoses.”
Copp explained that the FDA says taking unused medication to a take-back site is the best option, but the safe disposal methods mentioned above are preferred if consumers are not able to return them to a take-back location.
To read more about this study, click here to read the article by Rapaport for Reuters Health.
Photo Credit: Komain Intarakamhaeng