Survey: Most Americans want safe home medication disposal options

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Survey: Most Americans want safe home medication disposal options

By Sandra Levy - 04/18/2019
Most Americans believe that at-home, ecofriendly medication disposal methods reduce the risk of child poisonings, opioid misuse and environmental pollution, according to a survey commissioned by DisposeRx, a drug disposal company that makes an at-home, site-of-use disposal solution.

The survey also found that 80% of respondents “always” or “sometimes” dispose of medications at home, but these methods often include flushing or pouring medications down the drain; 65% said they are “very” or “extremely” concerned about leftover medications in their home, after hearing facts about the associated risks; and 72% recognize the need for easy-to-use and effective disposal options in their homes for unused medications.

The independent consumer survey, conducted by research firm Brightline Strategies and sponsored by DisposeRx, polled 1,700 adults across the United States, 700 of whom had been prescribed an opioid in the past two years.

The percentage of respondents who are “very” or “extremely” concerned about the risks of unused medications in the home grew from 48% to 65% after learning the following: According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly 60,000 children under the age of five years arrive in emergency rooms annually due to poisoning from unsecured medications; 87% of water samples studied by the U.S. Geological Survey contained measurable amounts of 25 medications; 70% of people with prescription drug substance abuse disorders acquired their drugs by taking them from friends or relatives without their permission.

The risks of unused medications in the home that generated the most concern were child poisonings at 68%, followed by water pollution (61%) and opioid abuse (58%).

“These results demonstrate that many Americans realize there is a leftover prescription problem in this country, but not enough understand the far-reaching repercussions of retaining leftover medications in their medicine cabinet,” DisposeRx president William Simpson said. “Through our ongoing education efforts, we look to empower more individuals to make their environments safer by giving them a quick, convenient and cost-effective way to eradicate all leftover medications from the home in a timely manner.”

The majority of survey respondents, 62%, said that they save their unused medications in case of a recurrence of a medical issue, while 51% hold on to their leftover prescriptions to save money.

Similarly, 49% of respondents save medication to save the time and hassle of returning to their doctor or a pharmacy, and 37% of respondents with a leftover medication said they saved it in case a friend or family member needed it.

Although 70% of respondents said they were at least “somewhat likely” to use drug-disposal kiosks located in pharmacies and participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s biannual Take-Back Day (with the next one occurring on April 27), only 30% said they believe those options are enough to solve the child poisoning, environmental and opioid problems.

While recognizing that the misuse of unused medications is a major problem, 72% of respondents said they believe there is a need for an easy and effective at-home medication disposal solution, while 71% said they were at least “somewhat likely” to use such a solution, and 62% would use a disposal product if offered free with prescriptions.

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