Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse at Home

Prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic in the United States. Opioids, depressants and stimulants are the most abused medications. According to the Los Angeles Times, the leading cause of death from unintentional injuries in the U.S. is drug-related poisonings, which has surpassed automobile accidents. Between 1999 and 2006, deaths from drug poisoning have almost doubled. The first step towards preventing drug abuse is proper medication disposal.

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Who May Determine Whether a Waste Is Hazardous?

The “determination” step is one of the critical areas when declaring and classifying hazardous waste. The question always arises – who is responsible for determining if a waste should be classified as a hazardous waste. Below is a great explanation to help answer this question.

Q: A laboratory chemist produces miscellaneous analytical waste and accumulates the waste in a nearby satellite accumulation container. When the container is full, the lab’s environmental group gathers applicable information from the chemist and from other sources as needed in order to make a hazardous waste determination. Since the chemist was the person who actually generated the waste, who may determine whether the waste is hazardous — the chemist or the environmental group?

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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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MS Facts and Figures

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system, which consists of the spinal cord, brain and optic nerves. MS occurs when the immune system attacks myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers, and the nerve fibers themselves.1 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that 400,000 people nationwide and 2.3 million people worldwide are affected by multiple sclerosis.2 MS can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are similar to other neurologic diseases. Symptoms include blurred vision, weak and stiff muscles, numbness, dizziness and bladder control problems.3

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Pollen Is in the Air

Fall has arrived along with fall allergies. With the cooler temperatures and color-changing leaves also comes mold and pollen. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 40-60 million people are affected by allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. Common symptoms include sneezing, itchy eyes and stuffy or runny nose. Doctors must prepare for the influx of patients they will treat during this season.

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