Re­turn your pills to the phar­macy

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - To learn more, visit Con­sumerRe­ports.org.

Many phar­ma­cies, hos­pi­tals, clin­ics, nar­cotic treat­ment pro­grams and long-term care cen­ters will take left­over and ex­pired med­i­ca­tion any time of the year. Some lo­ca­tions might also offer mail-back pro­grams.

To find an au­tho­rized pro­gram near you, go to Dis­poseMyMeds.org or DEA di­ver­sion. us­doj.gov and search for “drug dis­posal.” Or call the DEA’s Reg­is­tra­tion Call Cen­ter at 1-800882-9539.

Wal­greens has made this es­pe­cially con­ve­nient by in­tro­duc­ing self-ser­vice kiosks ear­lier this year. The kiosks are free, anony­mous and se­cure: Sim­ply place un­wanted and ex­pired med­i­ca­tion, in­clud­ing con­trolled sub­stances, in the top slot and walk away.

If your lo­cal phar­macy won’t ac­cept your med­i­ca­tion and drop-off at an au­tho­rized lo­ca­tion is not an op­tion, you can toss most pills in your house--

hold trash (with the ex­cep­tion of nar­cotic painkillers) -- pro­vided you take a few pre­cau­tions.

First, re­move the drug from its orig­i­nal con­tainer and mix it with a sub­stance that makes it less rec­og­niz­able, such as cof­fee grounds, kitty lit­ter, or saw­dust. Then place the mix­ture in a seal­able plas­tic bag or other con­tainer that won’t leak and put it in the trash. As an added pre­cau­tion, be­fore you dis­card the pre­scrip­tion bot­tle, re­move the la­bel en­tirely or scratch away the per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

Take pre­cau­tions with painkillers

Re­cent data sug­gests that, when it comes to ad­dress­ing ac­ci­den­tal or in­ten­tional mis­use, we have a lot of work to do. In a sur­vey of peo­ple who were re­cently pre­scribed opi­oids, pub­lished in JAMA In­ter­nal Medicine in June, 60 per­cent of re­spon­dents re­ported hold­ing on to the drugs for fu­ture use. Al­most half said that they weren’t aware of how to prop­erly store or dis­pose of opi­oids.

Left­over pre­scrip­tion painkillers can be fa­tal if in­gested by some­one in your home, in­clud­ing chil­dren and pets, and for that rea­son, they shouldn’t be tossed in the trash, says Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion spokesper­son Lyn­d­say Meyer.

For ex­am­ple, Meyer adds, “too much fen­tanyl can cause se­vere breath­ing prob­lems and lead to death in ba­bies, chil­dren, pets and even adults, es­pe­cially those who have not been pre­scribed the medicine.”

Con­sumer Re­ports says that the best way to han­dle left­over nar­cotic painkillers, such as fen­tanyl (Dura­gesic and generic), hy­drocodone (Vi­codin and generic), meperi­dine (De­merol and generic), mor­phine or oxy­codone (Oxycon­tin, Per­co­cet and generic), is to take them to a phar­macy or au­tho­rized take-back lo­ca­tion.

But if you can’t get there, left­overs of those and other con­trolled sub­stances listed on the FDA’s web­site can be flushed down the sink or toi­let, Meyer says.

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