Imagine you are digging through your medicine cabinet looking for a Band-Aid and you stumble across some medication from the last time you were sick, two years ago.
You are no longer sick and have no need for the medication. Besides, it’s expired. So, you take it and pitch it into the garbage, right?
Carolyn Seehafer, PharmD, Director of Pharmacy at Trinity Health, suggests while you should dispose of these expired medications, there is a protocol to follow.
Instead of throwing them away or down the sewer system, these medications can be deposited at designated drop box containers at participating pharmacies; at Trinity Health, these boxes are located at KeyCare Pharmacy, located at Health Center-Medical Arts, and B&B Pharmacy, located at Health Center-East.
There are two programs in North Dakota that offer assistance.
The first is the Drug Take Back Program, which was launched by North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in December 2009. According to the Attorney General’s website, the program “provides North Dakota citizens with a safe and simple method to dispose of unused and unwanted over-the-counter and prescription medicines, thereby helping to protect our state’s environment and keeping these drugs off the streets.”
More than 24,665 pounds of unwanted and unused medication had been collected from the Take Back containers at local law enforcement agencies.
The second program, the TakeAway Environmental Return System, is endorsed by the North Dakota Pharmacy Board, North Dakota Pharmacy Association, and the North Dakota Pharmacists Association(NCPA).
Both programs have drop boxes at the aforementioned locations.
These drop boxes are designed for the following medications:
- Pills, tablets, and caplets
- Inhalers and nebulizer solutions
- Liquid medicines, any amount
- Ointments, creams, lotions, and powders
Controlled substances (such as Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Valium, and others), sharps (syringes and lancets), thermometers, glass home-based care (HBC), and durable medical equipment supplies should not be deposited in these boxes. These substances should be taken to local law enforcement agencies. If you have any questions, please check with your pharmacist, your local law enforcement agency, or contact the Attorney General’s office at 701-328-2210 or ag.nd.gov.