211171 Prudent Disposal of Unused Medications: Why it Matters to Our Aging Population

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:10 AM

Kathy Sykes, MA , US EP Aging Initiative, US EPA, Washington, DC
In 2007, US EPA awarded two grants to fill research gaps on the amount of medications disposed and to develop alternative stewardship approaches to disposal, including "mail back" or "take back" demonstrations. The pilot projects assembled an inventory of the types and quantities of drugs returned. Inventory data could prove useful to the medical community in changing its prescribing practices to reduce the incidence of unused medications. The ARCHS pilot worked through pharmacies co-located with a grocery store chain on Missouri and Illinois.

The Maine pilot research objectives were to devise, implement and evaluate a mail back plan to remove unused and unwanted medications both RX and over-the-counter, from residences and dispose of them in compliance with state and federal laws and sound environmental practices. Results from the pilot will include the following: 1) quantify by weight, type & hazardous characteristics during the pilot by actual pill count and classification; 2) determine total costs & cost-related variables to determine precise funding needed for larger scale rollout; and 3) test the effectiveness of an educational campaign to create awareness of risks associated with the retention of medications. T

During the first phase of the Maine pilot ssurvey data confirmed the primary reason for participation was to protect the environment (83%) with concerns for the safety of family a primary concern for 8% of participants. The major reasons for accumulation were death of a relative, medicine expired or outdate, and the doctor instructed the patient to stop taking the drug.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe two approaches to address the prudent disposal of medications. 2. List the pros and cons of each approach.

Keywords: Water Quality, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Presenter
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.