Expanding Medication Disposal Efforts

Published on 20 October 2016

St. Louis College of Pharmacy and NCADA today announced a donation by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals of 50,000 medication deactivation pouches that will be distributed to senior centers, patients, parents and law enforcement in the Greater St. Louis area to provide a safe and responsible medication disposal method, preventing misuse of leftover prescription medication.

The medication deactivation pouches were purchased and donated by Mallinckrodt, a leading global specialty pharmaceutical company. The user-friendly, pouch-based systems deactivate prescription medications and render chemical compounds safe for landfills. After placing pills in the specially formulated pouch and adding regular tap water, it can be sealed and thrown away with the household trash.

Nationwide Donation

The donation to the College and NCADA is part of Mallinckrodt’s nationwide 1-million pouch donation initiative to help combat the misuse of prescription pain medications, which is one of the top public health threats in the U.S. today.

“More than 40 percent of all prescribed medication, which is an estimated 1.6 billion tablets and capsules, sit unused in American homes,” said Dr. John A. Pieper, President of St. Louis College of Pharmacy. “Mallinckrodt’s donation provides patients in our community a tangible way to reduce availability and access to expired and unused prescription pain medications by helping to clear out cabinets and cupboards in the St. Louis area. This is one key component of a larger, long-term public health campaign by St. Louis College of Pharmacy to teach the importance of safe medication use and disposal.”

“As a company focused on the health and well-being of our patients and communities, Mallinckrodt has long been a strong advocate of addressing the complex issues of opioid misuse that cause so much harm to families,“ said Mark Trudeau, Mallinckrodt President and Chief Executive Officer. “We share the concerns of people across the nation, and believe that providing patients with a safe and responsible way to dispose of unused medications is critical in this fight against prescription drug misuse. Mallinckrodt is committed to working with policy makers, community leaders, law enforcement and industry partners to ensure the responsible use of pain medication and prevent unused medications from ending up in the wrong hands.”

Students label donation medication deactivation pouches.National Medication Disposal Effort

The medication deactivation pouch announcement was made in conjunction with raising awareness for the 11th annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that will take place on Saturday, Oct. 22 at various locations across the St. Louis region.

“Four out of 5 heroin users begin by misusing prescription pain medications, which is just one of the reasons that the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is an excellent program that we strongly support. However, it only comes twice a year. The medication deactivation pouches that have been donated can be used at home any time,” said Howard Weissman, NCADA Executive Director. “Collaboration behind this initiative effort demonstrates what we can do together to combat the drug misuse epidemic. If each pouch is used to capacity, more than two million pills will be removed from homes in our region.”

Community Partners

The College and NCADA plan to route pouches to partnering organizations such as Mercy, St. Anthony’s Medical Center, Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, Missouri Baptist Medical Center and Wehrenberg Theatres, as well as Behavioral Health Response, Alliance for Healthy Communities, Center for Life Solutions, and Greater St. Louis Dental Association. In addition, 10,000 of the pouches will be donated to St. Louis area law enforcement, such as St. Louis County Police Department and the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Partnering organizations will distribute pouches to senior centers, home health and hospice groups, hospital pharmacies and others.

A national survey of U.S. adults who were prescribed opioids showed that nearly 6 out of 10 had or expect to have leftover opioids, according to findings published online June 13, 2016, in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal. Nearly 68 percent of those who used prescription pain relievers non-medically in 2012-2013 got them from friends or relatives, according to the 2013 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The medication deactivation pouches are manufactured by Minneapolis-based Verde Technologies.

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