National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, April 27, 2019. The goal of this event is to provide consumers a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs. The last Take-Back Day brought in more than 900,000 pounds of unused or expired prescription medication.
In a study released from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in March 2019, researchers found that many patients keep their unused prescribed opioid pills in anticipation of future pain needs. Patients described their plans for the unused opioids in four primary categories: 1) keep “just in case” of recurrence of a specific medical condition; 2) keep “just in case” of an unspecified condition or emergency; 3) keep for now, but will discard “after they expire” or “when my shoulder heals”; and 4) had no identified plans, but are keeping them anyway. Click here to read more about this study.
Keeping medications for “just in case” events is of high concern considering findings of the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Of the 6 million Americans who misused controlled prescription drugs, the majority of these were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.
“Prescriptions medications are intended to be taken only for the specific reason they were prescribed. Keeping them longer than needed ‘just in case’ increases chances of medication errors and theft. When a medication is no longer needed, the best option is to safely dispose the medication.” ~ Jayme Steig, PharmD, RPh, Quality Improvement Program Manager, Great Plains QIN
The Great Plains QIN partners with providers, pharmacists and stakeholders in the region to reduce drug misuse through community coalition activities and educational opportunities. Below are links to a Great Plains QIN webinar and coaching call highlighting take-back strategies.
- Strategies to Improve Take Back of Unused Medication (Experts provide successful approaches at the community and state level to improve access to safe opioid disposal.)
- Take-Back Programs Coaching Call (Take-back experts provide answers to questions and shares challenges and successes.)
Great Plains QIN Medicine Safety Webpage
Great Plains QIN Region State-Based Drug Take-Back Programs