Should pharmacies take back unused medications? (Poll)
Did you ever see the public service commercial where a grown man or woman goes to the medicine cabinet to take their prescription pills only to see in the mirror a teenager taking them instead?
Prescription pain killers are one of the leading causes of heroin addiction and last year the DEA announced that pharmacies could accept and destroy customers unwanted pills.
Since then, not much has changed with only about 1 percent of American pharmacies setting up disposal programs, which does not include the two largest pharmacy chains, CVS and Walgreens. Both have balked at the cost and security risks, according to government and industry data.
Flushing unwanted medications down the toilet is legal but discouraged because they can pollute water sources; throwing them in household garbage that eventually reaches landfills creates similar environmental concerns.
“The non-medical use and abuse of prescription drugs is a serious public health problem in this country” says Kevin Meara founder of City Of Angels which guides people through addiction and supports them in recovery.
Meara continues "Many states still prohibit pharmacies from collecting used medicines. So first, NJ must make this process legal. Then NJ must hold the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacies, who are making billions of dollars from the sale of pain killers, accountable, such as was done with the smoking industry and then have them pick up the cost for the collection, disposal and incineration of the used drugs.”
Meara offers a possible solution for this ongoing issue. "“A quirky but effective idea may be to have pharmacies offer 10% discount coupons for future purchases when old medicines are returned.”
Should pharmacies be taking back unused prescription drugs? Have your children or anyone you know taken medication they shouldn't have. Cast your vote or comment below.