All Points Medical Waste Blog

How to Dispose of Opioids in Home Health Care

5 Steps to Take to Ensure Safe Disposal

A young man is helping an elderly man dispense his medications while sitting together at a table.The opioid crisis in the United States continues to grow–with hundreds of thousands of deaths resulting from overdose each year. According to research, the USA, although only representing a little less than five percent of the population across the globe, consumes nearly 80% of the world’s opioids. One of the biggest components of the crisis is the use of opioids in home health care. Improper disposal can lead to increased risk of illegal distribution, accidental overdose and dangers to the environment. Here’s a look at the top steps to take to safely dispose of opioids in home health care.

1. Store Opioids Securely

Storing opioids securely is one of the most important ways to reduce the risk of accidental exposure or overdose. Keep these medications in a medicine cabinet that can be locked to prevent unauthorized access. Make sure patients and their families understand the importance of keeping opioids secure and the dangers that could result from improper storage.

2. Keep Track of Unused or Expired Medications

Make sure you check and review all medication and identify any unused or expired opioids. Doing this step on a regular basis, whether monthly or bi-monthly, can help ensure that only necessary medications are in the home, which in turn will reduce the amount of excess opioids that need disposal.

3. Find a Drug Take-Back Program in Your Area

One of the safest and most convenient ways to dispose of unneeded opioids is to participate in a drug take-back program. Many pharmacies, healthcare facilities and law enforcement agencies provide events or programs. Check with your physician or local pharmacy to see how often they host these events, some provide them on a regular basis.

4. Use Prescription Drug Disposal Bags

Check with your local pharmacy to see if they provide prescription drug disposal bags. These bags are designed to neutralize medications because they contain activated charcoal, which deactivates the opioids. If you do use a drug disposal bag, be sure to follow the instructions to safely dispose of the medications in the household trash.

5. Dispose of Opioids with an Inedible Substance

If you don’t have access to a drug take-back program in your community, you can mix the unused opioids with certain substances that can help make the medication inedible. Things like coffee grounds or kitty litter are often used. Simply place the mixture in a sealed bag and then dispose of it in the household trash. Using this method acts as a deterrent to accidental ingestion and minimizes the risk of intentional misuse.

All Points Medical Waste provides full service medical waste disposal to customers throughout Florida. We are a family-owned and operated company located in Stuart, Florida. Give us a call today or complete the form on this page to learn more.

 

Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Medical Waste. All Points Medical Waste is a family-owned and operated medical waste disposal and compliance company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.
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