St. Louis College of Pharmacy
4588 Parkview Place * St. Louis, MO 63110 * www.stlcop.edu

Contact: Brad Brown
Director, Public Relations
Cell: (314) 691-3130
E-mail: brad.brown@stlcop.edu

Medication Disposal Rules Change

Published on 08 September 2014

It will soon be much easier for Americans to safely dispose of unwanted medications. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) just announced rules allowing participating pharmacies, certain hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities to collect medication for proper disposal. The rules go into effect next month.

“Patients already trust their pharmacist and visit them on a regular basis,” says Amy Tiemeier, Pharm.D., BCPS, associate professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. “With these new rules, pharmacies have the opportunity to play an even larger role in the health and well-being of their community.”

Americans spend nearly $1,100 per person on prescription and over-the-counter medications every year, and much of it is left in cabinets, drawers, or forgotten. Some of those medications can be the target for thieves. Police say a vast majority of heroin and other narcotics abusers start their addictive behavior with prescription pain medication.

“Medication abuse often starts with theft from the homes of family and friends,” Tiemeier says. “Unfortunately, those medications act as a gateway to illegal narcotics like heroin or cocaine. Removing unwanted medications from your home helps protect not only your family, but the entire community.”

Tiemeier advises patients to check with their pharmacist to see if they will be participating in the disposal efforts.  Until then, the best way to dispose of medication is at a permanent disposal site or at the next nationwide take back event on Sept. 27. The College maintains MedDisposal.org. Among the features of the website is a listing of the sites accepting medications in September, and an interactive map showing the permanent medication disposal locations in the St. Louis region.   

“All of us should look at our medications,” Tiemeier says. “If they’re no longer needed, expired, or could be stolen, take them to a participating pharmacy once the rules go into effect or utilize one of the many permanent disposal sites. Don’t leave medication sitting at home. It can weaken over time, lose effectiveness, and prevent you from reaching your health goals.”

These new rules will take time to be fully implemented in the community. Many are seeing the new rules for the first time today.

“The addition of medication disposal at the pharmacy removes the burden of a special trip to a police station or other secure disposal facility,” Tiemeier says.

Full details on the DEA announcement can be found here.

About St. Louis College of Pharmacy: For more than 150 years, St. Louis College of Pharmacy has been committed to educating the best pharmacists in the United States. The region’s only independent college of pharmacy, St. Louis College of Pharmacy is the third oldest continuously operating and 10th largest college of pharmacy in America. The student body is comprised of 1,400 students, 40 percent of which are minority or multicultural. The students come to the College from 31 states and 10 countries. The College admits students directly from high school and accepts transfer students and graduates from other colleges and universities in the sophomore and junior years of the undergraduate program and the first year of the professional program. Students earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) with an integrated Bachelor of Science degree in a seven-year curriculum. An education at the College opens up the world to graduates for a career in a wide range of practice settings. Graduates have a 100 percent job placement rate. The campus is transforming to better fit the needs of students, faculty, and staff. This summer, a new six-story, 213,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art academic and research building opened. Construction is underway for a seven-story student center, residence hall, and recreation facility scheduled for completion in December 2016. When not in class, students can participate in more than 60 organizations, fraternities, intramurals, and sports. The College competes in 12 NAIA Division I sports. College alumni practice throughout the nation and in 13 different countries, providing a strong network to assist students with their goals. Additional information is available at stlcop.edu.

–XXX–