Got pills? Disposal rules change.

Good news for those of us clearing out a loved one’s home and finding lots of bottles of prescription medicines. NEVER flush them down the sink or toilet. Now there is (or soon will be) a new option–return to your local pharmacy.

I read this in the NY Times:

Concerned by rising rates of prescription drug abuse, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced Monday that it would permit consumers to return unused prescription medications like opioid painkillers to pharmacies. The move is intended to help reduce stockpiles of unneeded medicines in homes, which are often pilfered by teenagers. Under the new regulation, patients and their relatives will also be allowed to mail unused prescription drugs to an authorized collector using packages to be made available at pharmacies and other locations, like libraries and senior centers. The new regulation, which will go into effect in a month, covers drugs designated as controlled substances. Those include opioid painkillers like OxyContin, stimulants like Adderall and depressants like Ativan. Until now, the Controlled Substances Act allowed patients only to dispose of the drugs themselves or to surrender them to law enforcement. “This is big news and long overdue,” said Dr. G. Caleb Alexander at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “It’s baffling that it’s so easy to get a prescription for opioids and yet so difficult to dispose of these drugs safely.” 

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About Mary Miley

I was born at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, where my father taught tactics to the cadets, so it's no surprise that my earliest memories are of the Corps drilling on the parade grounds to the rhythm of the Army band. I attended public schools in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and France, then worked my way through the College of William and Mary in Virginia as a costumed tour guide at Colonial Williamsburg, experiencing first hand the pleasures of wearing 18th-century attire during the sweltering summer. After putting my husband through law school selling cheese in Cleveland—aw, come on, it was a recession!—I returned to Williamsburg for a masters degree in history and a full-time job at Colonial Williamsburg, working with antiques and reproductions. It was there that I really learned how to write and how to make history come alive. When my children were young, I left Williamsburg for a thirteen-year stint teaching American history and museum studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and at the same time consulted with museums across the country on matters retail and financial. A free-lance writer since 1986, I have published a dozen nonfiction books and more than 200 magazine articles, most on history, travel, and business topics. During the past few years, I've branched into fiction, writing the first two of a mystery series and a romantic suspense, all set in the 1920s. The first, THE IMPERSONATOR, won the national contest for Best First Crime Novel and was published in 2013 by St. Martin's/Minotaur; its sequel, SILENT MURDERS, came out in 2014. I live in Richmond, Virginia, with my husband, an attorney. My greatest pleasures are traveling, playing the pipe organ with all the stops out, and reading mysteries.

Posted on October 16, 2014, in General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. rosenberger99@comcast.net

    Dear Mary, YOU  ARE  BACK ! Wonderful. Regards,   Karl R.

  2. Not on a weekly basis, I’m afraid, but I’ll post things whenever I come across something relevant.

  3. If you know someone who works at a hospital, have them find out what the pharmacy there will accept. I recently had an enormous quantity of meds from my sister-in-law, who died of cancer after several years of treatments. Left behind was everything from anti-nausea to pain to sleeping meds and even a variety of vitamins and supplements (expired) which are almost as bad to flush as prescription drugs. I was lucky enough to be able to turn the entire bag over to a hospital, which has returned drugs incinerated. It’s an option to check out if you have to dispose of a lot of drugs. (My local pharmacy will NOT accept them, BTW, and yours might not, either.)

    • Excellent advice, Leslie! Thanks. As you know, rules/laws differ from state to state and from pharmacy to pharmacy, so a bit of detective work is required. But a hospital pharmacy is a good bet, worthy of the question.

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