Prescription Drug Disposal among American Indian and Alaskan Natives
Methods: Researchers approached 325 individuals in clinic waiting areas, at clinic events, and at tribal gatherings to ask if they were willing to complete an anonymous study on prescription drugs. Inclusion criteria: identifying as AI/AN and over 18 years of age. Frequencies of disposal practices are based on the responses of 295 participants eligible for the study (91% response rate).
Results: Regarding disposing expired medications, 31% of respondents said they did so immediately, 47% responded either after expiration or never, and 21% were unsure. The most common disposal sites were trash (n=113); toilet (n=111), clinic (n=63) and collection event (n=63). In response to a statement that throwing prescription pain medication in the trash or toilet threatens the environment, 63% agreed, 8% disagreed, and nearly 30% said they didn’t know.
Conclusions: The research presented is a preliminary study in understanding behavioral practices surrounding prescription drug disposal among AI/AN living on or near the reservation. By building communication and partnerships with citizens and local law enforcement via drop-off events, tribal communities can instill policy and systemic changes toward safe prescription drug disposal.
Learning Areas:Public health or related research
Demonstrate the need for tribal policy surrounding prescription drop boxes through community surveys.
Keyword(s): Prescription Drug Abuse and Misuse, Native Americans
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a research assistant since 2009 on various research projects at the University of California, San Diego, Harvard Medical School, and California Native American Research Center for Health. I am a published author from Harvard Medical School in the Journal of Immunology, and have presented at the Society for the Advancement of Chicano and Native American in Science. I am Navajo and Hopi and have worked in the Native American community since 2010.
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.