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Leftover prescriptions in medicine cabinets may do more than just take up space. They pose a potential threat to others — including children and teenagers — who may find and use them.1

The opioid crisis, which is claiming the lives of 130 Americans a day, gives greater urgency to the need to safely dispose of unused medication.2

  • Most people (53 percent) who become addicted to prescription opioids get them from a friend or family member.3
  • One in five people prescribed a prescription opioid for pain reported they shared pills with a friend.4
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OptumRx offers members a solution: a drug disposal kit available at no cost.

The Deterra® pouch contains a substance that deactivates the drugs.5 It is easy to use and can be disposed of in a trash can. To get a kit, members can call the number on the back of their plan ID card

The Deterra drug disposal kit is simple to use and provides peace of mind. 

Flushing unused medication down the toilet isn’t a good option, because they may contaminate the water supply.6 Improperly throwing them in the trash can also be a safety hazard.7

Some alternative methods for safe disposal include the Drug Enforcement Administration biannual collection events.8 Since those began in 2010, nearly 11 million pounds of prescription drugs have been turned in.9 In addition, some pharmacies offer permanent disposal locations.10

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References

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug Enforcement Administration collects record number of unused pills as part of its 14th prescription drug take back day. Nov. 7, 2017. Accessed March 4, 2019.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. September 2017. Accessed March 4, 2019.
  4. Kaiser Health News. By sharing painkillers, friends and family can fuel opioid epidemic: Study. June 13, 2016. Accessed March 4, 2019.
  5. Deterra. Corporate website. Accessed March 4, 2019.
  6. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Don’t flush medicines down the drain. April 8, 2013. Accessed March 4, 2019.
  7. Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug Enforcement Administration collects record number of unused pills as part of its 14th prescription drug take back day. Nov. 7, 2017. Accessed March 4, 2019.
  8. Drug Enforcement Administration. National Prescription Take-Back. Accessed March 4, 2019.
  9. Drug Enforcement Administration. DEA achieves significant milestone during 16th national prescription drug take back day. Nov. 2, 2018. Accessed March 4, 2019.
  10. Drug Enforcement Administration. Controlled substance public disposal locations. Accessed March 4, 2019.