PharmacyChecker.com’s focus is on helping consumers find safe and affordable meds online while avoiding rogue pharmacy websites. But what do people do with unused medication? Leaving unused prescription drugs in medicine cabinets at home can leave them susceptible to abuse or accidental ingestion. Unused medication includes those products that you no longer need or that are expired. Disposal methods include bringing medication to “take-back” programs in your community, safely throwing in the trash, and even flushing meds down the toilet – but there are important guidelines to ensure safety.
Medication disposal is a particularly critical issue when it comes to controlled drugs, ones susceptible to abuse, because prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. About seven million Americans abuse prescription drugs, often powerful narcotics, such as oxycodone and Adderall, almost twice the number found to abuse illegal drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. About 70% of first time abusers get the drugs from friends or relatives, including from their medicine cabinets!
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends following the disposal instructions on the label of the drug. Don’t flush your meds down the toilet except when instructed to do so. Your community will likely have drug “take-back” programs. Call your local government offices to find them. In the absence of instructions or take back programs, the FDA recommends throwing most medications away in the household trash. Mix loose medication in a sealable bag or container with an undesirable substance such as coffee grounds or litter. It’s also recommended that you remove or scratch out any information on the prescription label so that it’s unreadable.
The FDA recommends flushing narcotic pain relievers such as fentanyl patches, morphine, Demerol, Percocet, and OxyContin, among many others, as soon as they are no longer needed because of their high risk of abuse. There are environmental concerns related to flushing medication, such water contamination. However, according to the Environmental Pro¬tection Agency, scientists to date have found no evidence of adverse human health effects from pharmaceutical residues in the environment. FDA provides a complete list of medications for flushing here.
Before throwing disposing of any medication, the FDA also recommends removing the labels on pill bottles to remove any information others might use
Drug and regulatory authorities have recently stepped up options for prescription painkiller disposal to combat the addiction epidemic. In fact, a relatively new FDA rule now allows pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and hospitals to collect controlled substances from consumers. The DEA has launched a drug collection site database to help you find one. The public may find authorized collectors in their communities by calling the DEA Office of Diversion Control’s Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539
What about destroying your medication?
There are products on the market for consumers and healthcare providers for disposing of medications. We DO NOT ENDORSE them but here are a few that may meet your needs help you follow the advice noted above:
Consumers searching for Adderall online should use extreme caution. The FDA announced that it found fake Adderall, a drug for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Narcolepsy, is being sold online. Adderall is a controlled substance, a prescription drug with greater addictive potential and subject to strict regulatory controls. Reputable international online pharmacies, such as those approved in the PharmacyChecker.com Verification Program, do not sell this product or other controlled substances to Americans.
Sales of controlled substances online are governed by the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act, which expressly bans the sale to Americans of controlled substances online from pharmacies that are not registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. The Act also prohibits pharmacies from dispensing controlled medication based only on a remote medical consultation, meaning the patient’s prescription must be the result of an initial physical exam. For more see PharmacyChecker.com: Controlled Substances and Online Pharmacies – Use Extreme Caution.
The FDA did not identify the websites that are selling the fake Adderall. According to the FDA, the fake Adderall contained Tramadol and acetaminophen, which is medication to treat pain. The FDA’s announcement also included pictures of authentic and fake Adderall.
Whether the problem is lack of supplies, which is a current problem for Adderall, or high costs, it is understandable that Americans are trying to find access online to needed medication that they cannot get at their local drugstores. But it’s critical to use common sense and only buy from credentialed online pharmacies. This will enable you to get most medications you need and protect yourself from falling victim to fake and dangerous drugs.
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is calling for a crackdown on rogue online pharmacies to curtail prescription drug abuse. Senator Schumer’s emphasis is on stopping online pharmacies that sell drugs without a prescription, particularly addictive drugs, such as Adderall and Xanax, which are controlled substances. We commend Senator Schumer on his actions. Since we first began our own work in 2002, a key requirement for an online pharmacy to be approved in the PharmacyChecker.com Verification Program has been that it require a valid U.S. prescription before dispensing any drug to an American. We also require that any pharmacy selling controlled substances to Americans be based in the U.S. and comply with the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 – legislation intended to curb drug abuse.
This is not Senator Schumer’s first call to arms regarding online pharmacies. In 2006, he co-sponsored the Internet Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act (S. 399), a bill to curb the sale of prescription drugs over the Internet without a valid prescription. A press release from Schumer’s office noted, “the bill is geared to domestic Internet pharmacies that sell drugs without a valid prescription, not international pharmacies that sell drugs at a low cost to individuals who have a valid prescription from their U.S. doctors.” Unfortunately, S. 399 never became law. (more…)