Sector: DEA

Posted: September 16, 2014
Source: The New York Times, Health
By CATHERINE SAINT LOUIS

Concerned by rising rates of prescription drug abuse, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced Monday that it would permit consumers to return unused prescription medications like opioid painkillers to pharmacies.

The move is intended to help reduce stockpiles of unneeded medicines in homes, which are often pilfered by teenagers. Under the new regulation, patients and their relatives will also be allowed to mail unused prescription drugs to an authorized collector using packages to be made available at pharmacies and other locations, like libraries and senior centers.

The new regulation, which will go into effect in a month, covers drugs designated as controlled substances. Those include opioid painkillers like OxyContin, stimulants like Adderall and depressants like Ativan.

Until now, these drugs could not legally be returned to pharmacies. The Controlled Substances Act allowed patients only to dispose of the drugs themselves or to surrender them to law enforcement.

“This is big news and long overdue,” said Dr. G. Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “It’s baffling that it’s so easy to get a prescription for opioids and yet so difficult to dispose of these drugs safely.”

Read more

Posted: February 3, 2014
Source: The Gazette, Iowa City

Feb. 02 IOWA CITY
When a patient emerges from anesthesia after surgery, his nurse wants to make sure he doesn’t feel pain.

She gets a 1 milliliter syringe of hydromorphone, a generic form of Dilaudid, from a secure drug cabinet. She plans to give her patient .2 milliliter. Even patients with open hysterectomies some of the most painful procedures need just .4 milliliter.

She squirts the rest of the drug down the drain, where it can’t be abused by addicts but can pollute drinking water.

UI nurses disposed of an average 70 percent of each of 47,000 hydromorphone 1 milliliter syringes with waste in fiscal 2013.

Portions of nearly 250,000 doses of prescription medication were flushed down the drain or returned to the UI Hospitals and Clinics pharmacy to be wasted in the past two years, despite U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines against flushing drugs.
Read more