205351 Pharmaceutical Disposal and Source Reduction Case Study in Mid-Atlantic Region

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 3:15 PM

Virginia G. Thompson, MA , Sustainable Healthcare Sector Coordinator, US EPA Region 3, US EPA Region 3, Philadelphia, PA
Proper disposal of unwanted medications has become an area of increasing concern in public health as the media, public, and legislators have seen reports of environmental harm to aquatic species and rising misuse of prescription drugs. Senior citizens, often taking multiple prescription drugs to address chronic diseases, are at the center of targeted public education efforts as well as projects designed to reduce medication waste. Around the country and across the globe, governments and community groups have developed a variety of approaches to ensuring appropriate mechanisms for proper disposal. In the Philadelphia area, the focus has been on developing approaches that can be sustained over the long-term. Several pilot projects have been conducted to address proper disposal among the senior population. Stakeholders, including water utilities, non-profit organizations, businesses, local and state government, and the Environmental Protection Agency, have partnered to conduct pilot projects at senior centers, retirement communities, and nursing homes. The partners have also undertaken efforts to address source reduction, resulting in less unwanted medication to dispose. This presentation will provide a summary of experience in the mid-Atlantic region with collection events, consumer education, and approaches with healthcare providers and insurers to develop sustainable approaches to disposal of unwanted medications, with a particular focus on work with the senior citizen community.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain how to partner with a variety of stakeholders to develop best practices for educating senior citizens about proper disposal of unwanted medications. 2. Compare local and national collection and return mechanisms that have been established to support proper disposal of unwanted medications. 3. Describe successes and challenges of developing sustainable, long-term approaches to proper disposal and source reduction by working with healthcare providers and insurers.

Keywords: Environment, Prescription Drug Use Patterns

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Professsional at EPA who leads national & regional workgroups on pharmaceutical disposal and source reduction.
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.