In recognition of Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 6-12, 2011), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) encourages patients to properly dispose of expired or unwanted medications (other than controlled substances) at a local independent community pharmacy as part of its Dispose My Meds™ program.
More than four billion prescriptions are written annually in the U.S. and up to 40 percent of drugs dispensed outside of hospitals aren’t taken, generating some 200 million pounds of unused pharmaceuticals each year. Unused medications are a contributor to accidental poisonings and deaths, which has seen an 80 percent increase in the U.S. in a recent six-year period.
Nearly 100 percent of patients in a recent NCPA survey, responded that they were satisfied with the Dispose My Meds program, many of whom had kept unwanted medications in their homes for years, even decades, while looking for a place for safe disposal. Some patients commented on how the Dispose My Meds program has helped them:
"I am delighted to know there is a solution for outdated prescriptions and have been trying to get help in this area since 1966."-- Houston, TX" I have been trying to find a place for 5 years to discard prescription meds. My mom's doctors are ALWAYS changing her dosages for her prescriptions, which leaves me with a stockpile of medications that need to be discarded. It has been said for years not to flush them down the toilet so we’ve been saving them until we could find a way to discard them safely. Last year I got so frustrated that I threw all her old medications in the trash that is picked up by the city. I thought I had no other choices; I threw out about 300 to 475 pills. It was frustrating because it’s a waste of money and horrible for the environment. I’m glad I can do something about it now."-- Boston, MA