Proper disposal of unused drugs can go a long way in impacting the opioid epidemic. Much like past campaigns to get people to understand the life-saving benefits of not smoking or wearing seatbelts, awareness and education are critical to changing consumer behaviors to make drug disposal a common practice and protect people from the dangers of leftover medications.
A new study conducted by Shriners for Children Medical Center in Pasadena, CA, published in the Journal of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America found that when provided with an at-home medication disposal packet and accompanying education, 95% of patient families properly disposed of their unused opioid prescriptions.
This analysis shows that providing patients with an at-home product and education were successful in taking unused medications out of the home to prevent opioid diversion and abuse. Learn more about the Shriners study in our news release.
These efforts are among a growing body of research assessing the impact of prescribing alternatives and education on storage and disposal for pediatric patients. Earlier this month, APhA Pharmacy Today highlighted efforts of the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) Outcomes and Evidence-Based Practice Committee which found that consistent education and use of opioid-sparing regimens can reduce misuse among kids having surgery. The Committee, along with a panel of health care and opioid stewardship leaders, included among their recommendations the importance of education on proper storage and disposal in preventing abuse and misuse of prescriptions which can lead to dependence.
The Pharmacy Today article noted that according to the review, “[approximately] 30% of caregivers of adolescents who have opioids in the home did not dispose of unused opioids because they never got around to it or did not know how to do so.” Pharmacists can ease this problem by putting disposal receptacles in their pharmacies or providing at-home medication disposal products.
The growing body of research validating the importance and impact of drug disposal and the use of our product and its effects on behavior change is gratifying. Proper storage and disposal of unused medications are critical steps to change consumer behaviors toward safety and opioid stewardship. We are aware of additional studies that are underway, and we look forward to sharing the results as they become available.