Cedarville University Research and Scholarship Symposium
Community pharmacies, medication storage, medication disposal
Many people store medications in bathrooms, which provide a moist, humid environment that speeds up the breakdown process of medications. The proper way to store medicines is in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children. Every year medications are also disposed of improperly presenting a risk to both humans and the environment. About one-third of all sold medications are unused. The most common ways patients dispose of medications in the United States are flushing down the toilet or sink, and throwing them away. Because of this pharmaceuticals have been found in groundwater, and drinking water proving hazardous to both humans and ecosystems.
In Congress today, both the Drug Free Water Act and the Safe Drug Disposal Act have been proposed to limit the disposal of pharmaceuticals in sewage systems, and provide the means of controlled substance disposal through take-back programs.
In February 2007 the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) established guidelines for the disposal of prescription medications. ONDCP guidelines are: take unused, unneeded or expired medications out of the original container, mix with an undesirable substance (such as coffee grounds), securely seal in impermeable containers, such as sealable bags, and throw into the trash. ONDCP recommends only flushing if the label or patient information specifies to do so. Taking advantage of community pharmaceutical take-back programs is highly encouraged.
Biddinger R, Farleman L, Janssen A, Martin M, Smith AM, Wamsley C, Frame TR. Survey of Community Pharmacy Customers’ Medication Storage and Disposal Methods. Cedarville University Research and Scholarship Symposium. Poster Presentation. Cedarville University Dixon Ministry Center; Cedarville, OH, April 2012.
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