199333 Pharmaceutical take-back program: Keeping drugs out of the water system

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Norbert Salamonski, RPh , Walgreens community pharmacist; Clinical Instructor School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Marshfield, WI
Pharmaceutical take-back program: Keeping drugs out of the groundwater

Objective: To develop and implement a community wide pharmaceutical take-back program to prevent groundwater contamination by pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PCP).

Data: Marshfield is a city with a population of 19,000 located in central Wisconsin. In 2005, Groundwater Guardians for the Marshfield Area created a diverse group of volunteers to review available information from the EPA, DNR, DEA and Board of Pharmacy. Goals were created, funding was identified and a venue was selected. The first program was held in May, 2006 in conjunction with the Wood County Clean Sweep Program. Pharmacists reviewed and sorted all products into controlled and non-controlled products. All controlled substances were logged by pharmacy technicians with police being present. One take-back program was held in 2006 and 3 programs in 2007. In 2008, a permanent take-back site was established at the Marshfield Police Station, eliminating the task of logging controlled substances.

Results: In 2006, 418 pounds of non-controlled and 35 pounds of controlled substances were collected. For 2007, 775 pounds of non-controlled and 68 pounds of controlled substances were turned in. 2008 totals equaled 621 pounds (no paper, cardboard, or plastic).

Conclusion: In 3 years, the program has prevented the dumping of just under 1 ton of pharmaceuticals into our water system. Public awareness to not flush pharmaceuticals has increased significantly. Additional benefits have been the potential prevention of drug diversion and limiting “pharm” parties by disposing of unused controlled substances.

Learning Objectives:
1) Create an educational program on proper disposal methods for unused and/or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications 2) Identify what medications are considered biohazards and inappropriate for a take-back program. 3) Develop a theoretical sustainable plan for a local take-back program which would include community funding, advertising, and a method to track the amount of pharmaceuticals collected.

Keywords: Water Quality, Community Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a community pharmacist for 15 years and have worked with this project from the start (4 years). In November, 2008 I participated in a panel presentation on pharmaceutical take-back programs at the Groundwater Guardians National Conference. I have also given presentations on other topics (pain management and proper medication use).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.