Patients destroying pain meds?

  1. Just wondering how other clinics handle the situation of destroying pain meds. For example, say a patient was prescribed Percocet, but they had a reaction to it, so the doctor wants them to get rid of the Percocet before giving them a prescription for Vicodin. I know the pharmacy won't take meds back...and the clinic can't take the meds...how can you be sure the patient will destroy them? Can you make them destroy them AT the clinic (kitty litter/coffee grounds style)? (But then what do you do with them once destroyed?)
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   brownbook
    Check with your garbage, recycling, yard waste service provider. They should tell you what to do with old pills.

    In my area, central California, our garbage provider lists local agencies that accept old (or unneeded) pills. The patient's information or label needs to be removed and the pill bottles are placed in a sealable plastic bag provided by the agency.
  4. by   mclennan
    Here in L.A., pharmacies are required to accept all drugs & syringes for disposal. Are you sure you asked your pharmacy manager? Every pharmacy I've ever worked with has special bins and containers for disposal that get sent to some company that incinerates them.
  5. by   zoidberg
    here at a pharmacy in the southeast, we take nothing from patients for disposal. i wish i could, but i can just offer the coffee ground method or a mail-in bag for 3.99
  6. by   mama2
    Where I am in MA, we have prescription drug disposal drop-boxes at the local police stations. Call around- see if a program exists where you are, and if not, see about starting one! It's good for the environment, and keeps pills out of children's/teens hands!
  7. by   schroonman
    This is a national level question! I look forward to more comments from across the country on what is presently happening. Alot of the states are working at this as well as the feds.
    What is your facility doing?
  8. by   elkpark
    I work at a university medical center, and our community/outpatient pharmacy does a "turn in old meds" day once or twice a year, where anyone in the community can turn in old medications and they will dispose of them properly. I'm pretty sure I've seen other (retail) pharmacies offer the same thing in other places over the years, also.
  9. by   WoundedBird
    We had a family member die unexpectedly and had grocery bags full of their meds to dispose of and we had just missed the fall DEA disposal day so we called pharmacies and they didn't want to touch the stuff (most of them were physician samples and pain patches) and even the police dept wasn't helpful. We ended up putting them in with our normal trash and it went directly to the compactor at our apartment since we didn't want them hanging around until the spring DEA day. I wasn't a huge fan of trashing them the way we did, but I refuse to flush meds and have them end up in the water we drink.
  10. by   boggle
    Back to the question of how to assure the meds are destroyed so the patient in pain can obtain a new prescription......OP, how did this work out? Pain clinics nationwide must face this same dilemma .
  11. by   LadysSolo
    Dissolve the meds in water and pour over clumping kitty litter.
  12. by   kerbear829
    Quote from melissa_rn
    Just wondering how other clinics handle the situation of destroying pain meds. For example, say a patient was prescribed Percocet, but they had a reaction to it, so the doctor wants them to get rid of the Percocet before giving them a prescription for Vicodin. I know the pharmacy won't take meds back...and the clinic can't take the meds...how can you be sure the patient will destroy them? Can you make them destroy them AT the clinic (kitty litter/coffee grounds style)? (But then what do you do with them once destroyed?)
    I've been a nurse in NE since 1977. I have never had a MD or PA request patient destroy a previous medication before ordering another one. My family have never been told this either. I am currently employed in ambulatory surgery. I see MD's write different scripts all the time without requesting destruction of the other. So not much help, I guess.
  13. by   Sadala
    Quote from kerbear829
    I've been a nurse in NE since 1977. I have never had a MD or PA request patient destroy a previous medication before ordering another one. My family have never been told this either. I am currently employed in ambulatory surgery. I see MD's write different scripts all the time without requesting destruction of the other. So not much help, I guess.
    I've never heard of this either. Is it a regional thing, perhaps?

    Because... The patient PAID for the medication. So theoretically it BELONGS to them regardless of whether or not they can continue to take it due to allergy/intolerance, etc.

    I mean, at its heart, the OP's question is kind of a legal question, isn't it? :X
    Last edit by Sadala on May 2, '13 : Reason: clarification
  14. by   tewdles
    I believe that we may request that the patient destroy the meds and offer to assist them.
    We must accept their word on the destruction unless we help.
    As stated before, the patient owns the meds and may do with them as he/she pleases.
    It is illegal for anyone to be in possession of medications prescribed for another, unless that is part of their professional function/role.
    If we have knowledge that the patient or their family members are endangering themselves or others with the medications, HIPAA allows (even requires) that we report that to the authorities.

    Try not to make yourself crazy over something that you really can't control...good luck.

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