Safe drug disposal: Outpatient Pharmacy now has receptacle for unused medications
Children’s Mercy Pharmacy staff members often are asked to dispose of unused or expired medications, but with the exception of the hospital’s participation in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, medications have not been accepted.
Now patients, families and staff members have a safe, convenient and anonymous way to dispose of unused or expired medicines, including controlled substances: a MedSafe drug collection and disposal receptacle has been installed in the Outpatient Pharmacy on the ground floor of the Adele Hall Campus.
“We often receive questions from families asking how they can get rid of their unused medications, so we’re pleased to provide this safe solution,” said Krista Wright, PharmD, Manager-Pharmacy.
The Medsafe receptacle located in the lobby of the Outpatient Pharmacy on the Adele Hall Campus provides a safe, convenient and anonymous way to dispose of unused or expired medications.
Brian O’Neal, PharmD, MS, FASHP, Senior Director of Pharmacy and Biomedical Engineering, said, “A lot of patients hold on to unwanted controlled substances because they don’t know how to safely dispose of them. We’re happy to add this service for our patients, families and employees to help get unneeded controlled substances out of the medicine cabinet and into an appropriate waste stream.”
A Medsafe dropbox also will be provided at the Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas Campus.
The specially designed box is secure and can only be accessed and emptied by two pharmacy employees, as required by Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) guidelines. Sharps Compliance, a nationwide provider of management services for medical waste and unused medication, has installed the receptacles in retail pharmacies, long-term care facilities, hospitals and clinics with on-site pharmacies, law enforcement, government agencies and narcotic treatment facilities. The company says it has collected over 2 million pounds of unused medications with these receptacles.
Just drop unused medications in the drop-door opening of the box—no questions asked—and they’re gone. There are limitations on what can go in the box though, and these limitations (e.g., no chemotherapy drugs) are listed in detail on the top of the collection receptacle.
The Pharmacy can direct people to the receptacle and discuss medication use, but employees cannot handle or place the medications in the box for those wanting to dispose of them.
When the receptacle inner liner is full, two authorized Pharmacy employees remove, seal and package the liner, which is transported to a DEA-registered facility by a designated common carrier for destruction per DEA regulations.
“In addition to providing a safe and convenient way to dispose of medications, the MedSafe system helps prevent prescription drug abuse and protects our water supply,” Krista said.
Safe medication storage and additional options for safe medication disposal can be found on the Opioid Stewardship Program page, and within department education materials.
“We encourage employees and families to take advantage of the MedSafe box,” Krista said. “It is another way we can help protect our hospital and our community.”
A MedSafe box will be coming soon to the Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas Campus as well.
“This is a huge gift to the families at Children’s Mercy,” said Shayla Sullivant, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. “Every year we care for hundreds of young people who have ingested excessive amounts of medication, either by accident or as a suicide attempt. By disposing of unnecessary medications, parents are making their homes safer. We are so thankful to those who have worked tirelessly to make this happen at Children’s Mercy.”
Learn more about Safe Medication Storage and Disposal