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An idea to prevent surplus opioids from feeding opioid abuse



Most of the approximately 200 million opioid prescriptions dispensed in the United States each year have not been completed by the patient for whom they are destined No one knows how many unused opioid pills are forgotten in the American medicine and American socks, but they are probably billions. This huge reservoir of pills in excess can be attacked by addicted people (for example, guests at home, attending Christmas parties) or become the gateway to experiments on the use of drugs or dealing with curious adolescent children. Efforts to eliminate this threat to the public health of American homes have only reduced the problem.

The Drug Enforcement Administration executes days of return of prescriptions twice a year, which allows any person to leave any number and type of pills in designated places, without questions. The most recent event of that kind yielded a staggering 456 tons of pills. However, this total includes everything from OxyContin to the Flintstone chewable vitamins. Only an unknown fraction of what was collected on the return days reduces the risks of addiction and overdose.

Another limitation for national days of return of prescription drugs is that they are special events that are carried out six months apart. As with the recycling of bottles and cans, excess medications must become more routine to have an impact on the entire population. Congress approved a useful legislation in 2010 that authorizes organizations that dispense opioids (eg, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics) to operate prescription delivery locations throughout the year.

It's a good idea that it has not taken off. Last month, the Government Accountability Office reported that only 2.5 percent of eligible organizations are participating. The key barrier is financial: keeping the container for safe prescription delivery, training staff to follow the relevant regulations and destroying the returned medication costs money. The state with the largest share of participating organizations, North Dakota with 32 percent, deposits funds on an ongoing basis through the state Board of Pharmacy. In the private sector, CVS Health recently volunteered to build 750 disposal kiosks in its pharmacies. Most organizations in the public and private sector have not been willing to absorb the costs of operating the recipe delivery sites.

Given the billions of dollars in profits of opioid manufacturers and the fact that at least some of them played an important role is to start the opiate epidemic, they seem like a deep obvious pocket to take advantage of the return of excess opioids. opiates. The recycling of bottles in the United States was driven by cash deposits until it became a voluntary and widespread habit. Obliging opiate manufacturers to pay a few dollars per bottle returned from pills to the patient and to the delivery location operator may be what is needed for the return of the leftover drugs to be automatic and frequent such as the recycling of cans and bottles .


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