Tags: pharmacies | unused | pills | take | back

Pharmacies Unused Pills: New Regulation Aims to Keep Drugs Off Streets

Image: Pharmacies Unused Pills: New Regulation Aims to Keep Drugs Off Streets
A lot of pills and medicines.
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By    |   Tuesday, 09 Sep 2014 07:13 AM

Pharmacies will take back unused pills starting next month after President Barack Obama's administration issued a new rule this week that aims to keep controlled substances off the black market.

According to the Wall Street Journal, attorney general Eric Holder announced the new DEA regulation on Monday, stating in a video that nearly 1 in 4 teens who abuse prescription drugs get them from family medicine cabinets.

"Prescription drug addiction and abuse represent nothing less than a public health crisis," he says in the clip. "Every day, this crisis touches — and devastates — the lives of Americans from every state, in every region, and from every background and walk of life."

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Across the U.S., there were over 40,000 unintentional overdose deaths in 2011, with opioids like oxycodone accounting for nearly half of those deaths.

Previously, disposal options for unused pills were limited. Flushing them or throwing them in the garbage could harm the environment, and "take back" events organized at local police stations intermittently throughout the year are often difficult for consumers to keep track of.

The new regulation will make it possible for customers to return to pharmacies the unused portion of the roughly 4 billion prescriptions they issue each year. Depending on the pharmacy, customers will be able to mail in their unused pills in addition to dropping them off in person. A Walgreens spokesperson said its pharmacies also offer a product that renders pills unusable and safe to put in the garbage.

The New York Times reported that the DEA will require pharmacies to use an "on-site method of destruction to destroy returned packages" in order to minimize the risk that returned pills will be stolen.

Police departments often use incinerators to destroy pills, but it remains to be seen if pharmacies will be able to accommodate them or other destruction methods. The new regulation could very well become a security headache and financial burden on pharmacies.

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Pharmacies will take back unused pills starting next month after President Barack Obama's administration issued a new rule this week that aims to keep controlled substances off the black market.
pharmacies, unused, pills, take, back
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2014-13-09
Tuesday, 09 Sep 2014 07:13 AM
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