TOPEKA, Kan. -- The Kansas Medication Disposal Program was introduced Thursday at the Statehouse by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Board of Pharmacy.
Senator Vicki Schmidt, Representative Tom Sloan and Representative Doug Gatewood joined KDHE and the Board for this announcement. The purpose of the disposal program is to make collection centers available statewide for the disposal of uncontrolled medications generated by households, long-term care facilities and hospice care facilities.
Under the Kansas Medication Disposal Program, participating pharmacies and household hazardous waste (HHW) facilities can serve as collection centers for uncontrolled medications while law enforcement agencies can collect both uncontrolled and controlled medications in accordance with the Controlled Substances Act.
“Storing unwanted or expired medications in the home poses a significant health risk to Kansas families. Children can be injured or even die from accidental ingestion. This Medication Disposal Program is a collaborative effort in providing a way for Kansans to safely and conveniently get rid of uncontrolled medications,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer.
Without this program, there are limited proper disposal opportunities for uncontrolled medications in Kansas, said Bureau of Waste Management Director Bill Bider. “While disposal at a participating HHW facility is acceptable, there are few participating locations at the present time,” said Bider. “In addition, residents may dispose of unwanted pills in their routinely generated household trash, but unless the medications are mixed with other trash to render them unusable, they may still be recovered and misused.”
Due to a lack of convenient disposal options, some people may inappropriately dump medications down the drain presenting risks to the environment since medications generally bypass wastewater treatment facilities impacting wildlife and public water supplies.
“Removing unwanted medications from the home and disposing of them in this recommended manner is important to reduce the risk of accidental ingestion for our families and neighbors. Our pharmacies are very excited about this medication disposal program. Soon Kansans will see both our independent and our national pharmacies in Kansas participating, so please check the online map in the coming months to see where those pharmacies are located,” said Debra Billingsley, Executive Secretary of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy.
The State of Kansas hopes this new disposal program will ease the burden on Kansans looking to rid their homes of unused medications. Since 2000, Kansas has seen an increase of 150 percent in the hospital discharge rate for unintentional drug poisoning. Between 2007 and 2009, Kansas children ages 5 years and younger had the highest emergency department visit rate (157.6 per 100,000, or 952 children total) for unintentional drug poisonings among all age groups (2,499 people).
An interactive map is available on the KDHE website showing the location of participating pharmacies and HHW facilities. With the rollout of the program, pharmacies statewide are expected to enroll in the coming weeks. More information about the Kansas Medication Disposal Program can be found online at http://www.kdheks.gov/waste/about_medwaste.html.