Sharps Compliance Expands Its Service Offerings to Include Route-Based Pickup

Sharps Compliance now offers route-based pickup services for Pennsylvania, Maryland and Northern Ohio with the acquisition of Alpha Bio Med Services. The Company plans to add New York, New Jersey and Virginia to the service area over the next few months. Additionally, Sharps Compliance is exploring the addition of a facility and treatment operation in Eastern Pennsylvania.

The acquisition allows Sharps Compliance to supplement its national service offering of the industry-leading medical waste mailback systems with geographically-focused medical waste route-based pickup service in the Northeast. In addition to the Northeast, the Company also announced the expansion of its Texas operations to also offer the route-based pickup service offering.

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Part 1: The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

Prescription drug abuse has become a growing epidemic in the United States. Fifty-two million people over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically at least once during their lifetime.1 Every day 44 people die from an overdose of painkillers.2 Prescription drug abuse occurs when drugs have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties and are not taken as prescribed or are taken by someone to whom they were not prescribed.3 The most abused types of drugs are opioids, followed by tranquilizers and stimulants.4

Opioids are pain medications that decrease the strength of pain signals to the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which reduces the effects of a painful stimulus. Opioids include oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian) and hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin). Since these drugs affect the regions of the brain responsible for reward, some users may experience a euphoric reaction.5

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4th of July Fireworks Safety

This weekend is Independence Day. One of our traditions is to watch fireworks displays or shoot them off ourselves. In 2006, 9,200 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. The trend in fireworks-related injuries has been mostly up since 1996 with spikes in 2000-2001, primarily due to celebrations around the advent of a new millennium. The highest injury rates were for children ages 10 to 14. 75 percent of all injured were male.

Most fireworks injuries involve burns, but contusions, lacerations and other types of injuries are possible. Let’s look at some safety precautions for being around fireworks.

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Management of Pharmaceuticals at Healthcare Facilities

Medicines improve our quality of life, but there are some important issues regarding the proper disposal of unneeded or unwanted medicines. The disposal of pharmaceuticals when no longer needed poses a threat to our environment. Sharps Compliance has developed a program to manage these unwanted pharmaceuticals safely and in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

One of the ramifications of mismanagement of unused medications is the environmental effects resulting from poor pharmaceutical disposal practices. Through the years, pharmaceuticals have been largely discarded through either flushing or “sinking” them into the wastewater stream or discarding them into the solid waste stream. In the first instance, the wastewater is treated to remove physical, chemical, and biological contaminants, such as sediment, bacteria, and viruses. However, this treatment does not remove all organic molecules, which are inherent in pharmaceuticals. Thus, many of these molecules remain entrained in the treated waste water which is discharged into reservoirs, rivers, or lakes. Likewise, drugs disposed of as solid waste (into landfills) may leach these organic molecules into aquifers and into the fresh water supply.

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Hazardous Wastes at Retail Pharmacies

There has been increased scrutiny of the generation of hazardous waste in the retail industry – especially in the pharmacy area of stores. The importance of correctly managing the disposal of pharmaceuticals has become a critical issue. There is a category of waste that describes chemicals and constituents that are harmful to the environment – and these materials are classified as hazardous wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). A number of drugs and pharmaceutical formulations meet the definition of hazardous waste when discarded – and in some cases the empty containers that these pharmaceuticals came in may also need to be managed as hazardous waste.

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