ARH Pharmacies Offer Ways to Dispose of Unwanted Medications

6/7/2018

Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) retail pharmacies are taking a new step to help address the opioid addiction epidemic in our region by providing a way for patients to safely dispose of unwanted prescription drugs at home.

Often patients will find extra pain or anxiety medications they didn’t consume and are unsure of how to dispose of them. Throwing them in the trash could lead to other people or animals being accidentally exposed. Environmental groups recommend that drugs not be flushed down the toilet. Keeping extra drugs in medicine cabinets can lead to accidental or intentional misuse.

One option for disposal is to make the medication unusable inside its original vial container. All ARH retail pharmacies will stock a product known as DisposeRx® packets. There are three easy steps to use the DisposeRx® packets. First, open vial; second, add warm tap water until vial is two-thirds full; and third, add the DisposeRx® powder and place the lid back on the vial then shake and the contents will solidify in less than 10 minutes. The vial may then be thrown away in your household trash.

Upon request ARH retail pharmacies will provide a FREE DisposeRx® packet to any patient receiving a controlled substance prescription. Additional packets may be purchased for non-controlled substances at a minimal cost. Please note: the DisposeRx® powder is harmless if accidentally ingested.

“Our goal is to change the way people think about left-over medications. Studies show that up to 70% of opioids provided to patients for short-term pain control may go unused. Teaching our patients how to safely discard those drugs is a priority for ARH,” states Dr. Tiffany Herald, ARH Managed Care Pharmacist.

Other alternatives for disposing of unwanted prescription medications include dropping them into collection kiosks found in many local law enforcement agencies. To find a list of collection sites, visit the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) website at www.dea.gov or call the DEA at 1-800-882-9539.

ARH retail pharmacies will continue to search for ways to help our communities battle the epidemic of opioid addiction. Last year ARH implemented a program to dispense naloxone, the drug used to reverse an opioid overdose, to patients upon request.

For more information about DisposeRx®, please visit the company website at www.disposerx.com. Visit www.arh.org to learn more about ARH retail pharmacy services and locations.

Photo caption: ARH Pharmacist William Campbell holds a DisposeRx® packet and a vial of several leftover hydrocodone pills a patient brought into the pharmacy to dispose of properly. 

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