Biodegradable pouches help prevent prescription drug abuse by dissolving unused medication
By the University at Buffalo
To help families discard their old or unwanted medicine, the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SPPS) and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals will partner to distribute 20,000 Deterra Drug Deactivation Systems to the Western New York community.
With 30 seconds and a little warm water, the environmentally friendly pouches deactivate pills, patches or liquid medications, rendering them safe for landfills, and easy to dispose.
SPPS will work with state leaders, regional pharmacists, community organizations and law enforcement to distribute the drug disposal pouches to the local community through its student-led safe drug disposal programs.
"We need to remove any unused, unwanted or expired medications from the household to prevent the accidental poisoning of young children, curious drug use by adolescents, and pharmaceutical mishaps in the elderly. We also need to protect our waterways by not flushing drugs down the toilet," said Karl D. Fiebelkorn, SPPS senior associate dean for student, professional and community affairs. "These systems offer a way to dispose of medication safely."
The first 1,000 pouches were given away on Aug. 6 at New York State Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer's Family Health Fair, and another 1,000 pouches were distributed Aug. 13 at the Buffalo Zoo's "Wild About Wellness" health fair. Deterra disposal systems will also be made available at dozens of local sites on Oct. 22 during the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
"I commend the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals for offering a convenient way for residents to safely dispose of old or unwanted medicine," Ranzenhofer said. "This partnership will help save lives in communities all across Western New York."
New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy added, "With our opioid abuse crisis continuing to grow, it is imperative that unused drugs be quickly and safely removed from easily-accessible places in homes. Having these 20,000 drug disposal pouches available in the community is a great way to safely and securely dispose of unused prescription drugs. Thanks to the efforts of UB SPPS and Mallinckrodt, this partnership will undoubtedly make a difference."
The drug deactivation systems were purchased and donated to SPPS by Mallinckrodt, a global specialty pharmaceutical manufacturer, as part of the company's initiative to donate 1 million drug deactivation pouches to help combat the abuse of prescription pain medications, which is considered one of the nation's top public health threats.
A national survey of U.S. adults who used opioids found nearly six out of 10 had or expect to have leftover opioids, according to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Nearly 68 percent of those who used prescription pain relievers non-medically in 2012-13 received them from friends or relatives, according to the 2013 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
"As a company focused on our patients and communities, Mallinckrodt has long been a strong advocate of addressing the complex issues of opioid misuse and abuse that cause so much harm to families," SAID Mark Trudeau, Mallinckrodt president and CEO. "We share the concerns of people around the country, and believe that providing patients with a safe, environmentally responsible way to dispose of unused medications is critical in this fight against prescription drug abuse and preventing unused medications from ending up in the wrong hands."
To learn more about Mallinckrodt's safe medication disposal efforts, visit www.mallinckrodt.com/disposal.
Deterra systems are manufactured by Verde Technologies, a company dedicated to developing solutions to reduce drug abuse and misuse, and negative environmental impact.