Last updated on January 24, 2019
Affordable, environmentally responsible solutions for unused, unwanted pharmaceuticals
Americans fill over 4 billion prescriptions each year, but up to 40% of those drugs go unused. It’s a definite challenge to safely dispose of 200 million pounds of unused medication each year. Many communities participate in semi-annual drug takeback days where their citizens can take their personal unused medications to a location for drop-off and proper disposal. However, people often need to dispose of medications more frequently. Storing unused medications for many months can increase the risk of those drugs getting into the wrong hands. Sharps Compliance developed the Takeaway Medication Recovery Systems to provide consumers with immediate-use safe, affordable, DEA-compliant pharmaceutical waste disposal solutions for unwanted and unused medications.
Reasons Medications Go Unused
There are many reasons why consumers do not take all their prescribed medications. People who take multiple medications each day may forget doses or the doctor may change their prescription, resulting in unused medications. Drug-to-drug interactions and side effects are also a concern for people who regularly take multiple prescriptions. Adverse drug interactions can range from a minor nuisance (dizziness or sleeplessness, for example) to major health issues. Estimates of hospitalizations from adverse drug interactions range from 1.5 million to 2.7 million annually.
Of course, we are all aware of the opioid crisis in our country. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that between 60 and 92% of patients don’t finish their painkillers, and fewer than 10% dispose of them safely. Many patients (up to 30%) failed to finish opioid prescriptions because of side effects. Or too often, patients simply do not need the number of pain pills prescribed by their doctor. By quickly and properly disposing of unused narcotics/opioids, as well as other unused medications, you can help prevent potentially dangerous misuse of your leftover drugs.
Patients with concerns about their prescriptions should consult their pharmacist or physician. Always bring a complete list of medications to your pharmacy and doctor visits. Your healthcare professionals can help highlight and even prevent problems.
Safe Drug Disposal with the TakeAway Medication Recovery Systems
As we have stated, drugs go unused in homes across the country every day, and it is important to quickly and properly dispose of those drugs to reduce the chance of misuse. The Sharps Compliance TakeAway Systems are a simple way to collect and properly dispose of your unused meds. Whether they consist of over-the-counter medications, such as sleep aids or allergy drugs, non-controlled prescription drugs, such as antibiotics, or controlled medications and narcotics, they can all be placed in the TakeAway Medication Recovery System.
Once contained in the prepaid TakeAway Medication Recovery System envelope or box, they are mailed right from home or dropped off at the nearest post office or UPS store. The TakeAway prescription drug systems come in several sizes. The 8” x 11″ envelopes, conveniently purchased online or from your retail pharmacy, are for those consumers with smaller amounts of unused medication. The collection boxes are used for consumers with larger amounts of unused medications, such as hospice patients.
Remember, your drugs can only be mailed in DEA-approved packaging. Safe disposal tips include the following:
- Always follow the instructions for packaging and shipping included in every disposal system.
- Never overfill the envelope or box.
- Keep medications in their original containers, marking out personal health information if desired.
- Never place needles, lancets, or other sharps in the system.
- Place liquid containers of 4 ounces or less in a sealed plastic zip bag prior to placing them into the envelope or box.
- Mail your envelope or box from home or drop it off at your nearest post office or UPS store. No postage is required.
Get more information about use, packaging, and shipping of the TakeAway Medication Recovery containers in this informative video from Sharps Compliance.
How to use the TakeAway Medication Recovery envelopes:
Sharps Compliance is a DEA-registered mailback collector with on-site destruction as is required by law. Proper disposal of prescription medications helps prevent prescription drug abuse in homes and in our communities. Our solutions help to safely mitigate the danger of drug abuse and the environmental problems associated with improper prescription drug disposal.
Learn more about the safe, affordable medication disposal options offered by Sharps Compliance.