Sharps Compliance Announces Contest to Give Away 20 MedSafes®

Sharps Compliance is committed to helping communities dispose of unused medications to combat the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse and accidental poisonings. We are running a contest for a chance to win one of twenty MedSafe medication disposal collection receptacles along with a year’s worth of inner liners.

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Clarifying MedSafe

Medication disposal can be confusing. The practice is regulated by many government agencies, and there are a number of rules to follow to ensure you are correctly disposing of any unused medications. Sharps Compliance’s MedSafe is a collection receptacle for ultimate user medication disposal. This blog will clarify the rules and regulations of disposing of medications in MedSafe and other similar containers.

Federal Hazardous Waste regulations for generators of hazardous waste are found in 40 CFR §262.11. These regulations require that any generator who produces or generates a waste must determine if that waste is hazardous. If the waste is determined to be hazardous, the waste must be managed according the regulations in 40 CFR 262 (et al).

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Medication Disposal in Long-Term Care

Nurses practicing in senior care have very busy work schedules. From caring for patients to distributing medications to updating records, their days can become overwhelming. One of the more time-consuming tasks is the disposal of unused medication.

When a resident’s medication is permanently discontinued, it must be properly disposed. Prior to updates to the 2014 Drug Enforcement Agency’s regulations which implemented the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, few safe, efficient and environmentally-preferred options were available to communities for controlled drug disposal. Typically, the Director of Nursing and another nurse would itemize the drugs to be destroyed and then undertake the time-consuming task of emptying them out of their containers or blister packs. Removing individual pills from blister packs can not only be time-consuming (and therefore, costly) but also painful and difficult. Once removed, the drugs were typically placed into the toilet or mixed with an undesirable substance, such as kitty litter or dissolved in a chemical prior to putting them into the trash. After all of the medication was removed and destroyed, the residents’ identifying information on the packaging had to be concealed and disposed of safely to prevent disclosure of protected health information.

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Part 2: Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse

In our last blog post, we explored how prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in the United States. This week we will discuss how to prevent prescription drug abuse and what to do with any unused medications.

Many opioid abusers get the prescription drugs from friends or relatives for free, according to a study by JAMA Internal Medicine. Other sources include getting a prescription from one or more doctors, stealing or buying prescription drugs from friends or family and buying prescription drugs from drug dealers.1

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Medication Disposal for Long-Term Care Facilities — Including Controlled Substances

On September 9, 2014, the Department of Justice published the final rules for the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 allowing proper controlled substance disposal. The regulations go into effect October 9, 2014. The amended rules (found here) allow registered collectors, such as closed-door and retail pharmacies to place receptacles in long-term care facilities to collect and dispose of controlled substances (Schedules II-V). Before the rule update, solutions for disposal in long-term care facilities were minimal and often messy and environmentally unsustainable.

Flushing Medications

Flushing controlled substances, while acceptable in some states, should be avoided as the long-term effects of pharmaceuticals in rivers and streams are unknown. In 2008, the Associated Press found pharmaceuticals in the drinking water of 24 major metropolitan water supplies. Other studies have shown changes in aquatic life such as gender changes in fish, due to pharmaceuticals in the water.

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