News Headlines Article

New rules make it easier to dispose of potentially dangerous painkillers
The Washington Post

Until recently, the only approved way to dispose of expired or leftover opioid painkillers such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin was to flush them down the toilet or wait for a drug take-back day to happen nearby. And many of us didn’t bother to throw away the drugs at all.

But because of new rules from the Drug Enforcement Administration, you can now take those medications and others to drop-off spots at pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and long-term-care centers any time of the year, no appointment needed. (Believe it or not, it used to be illegal for those places to accept unused narcotic drugs.)

Those potent pain relievers — including codeine, fentanyl (Duragesic and generics), hydrocodone (Vicodin and generics), meperidine (Demerol and generics), morphine and oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet and generics) — might otherwise be left in medicine cabinets, where they could be misused by household members or taken accidentally. Such misuse (and abuse) sends more than 420,000 people to emergency rooms each year and causes almost 16,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.