By Jim Misunas
HOISINGTON — Cardinal Pharmacy of Hoisington is among 32 pharmacies participating in the Kansas Medication Disposal Program. The pharmacies voluntarily collect unneeded or unwanted prescription drugs during regular business hours.
Cardinal Pharmacy, 821 Main Street, is open from 9 a.m. to 12:30 and 1 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Co-owner Marla Jo Mooney, pharmacist, said the business was approved to participate in the state program in May. Cardinal Pharmacy bears some expense for transporting expired and unused items to Great Bend.
Mooney said she enrolled her business to insure that items are properly disposed.
“There are a huge amount of safety reasons we should make sure they are properly disposed of,” she said. “There are many patients who are no longer using a medication that has been prescribed. We are removing those types of items from their homes. Everyone benefits.”
Mooney said disposing of the items properly also helps insure they do not contaminate the water system, which can adversely affect people and animals.
The following list of items are accepted as uncontrolled medications for disposal — uncontrolled prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, medication samples, pet medications, vitamins, liquid medications in glass or leak-proof containers, medicated ointments and lotions and inhalers.
Pharmacies cannot accept the following items — narcotics and other controlled substances, illicit drugs, bloody and infectious waste, needles or other sharp objects, IV bags, bandages, personal care products, hydrogen peroxide, aerosol cans, thermometers and empty medication containers.
Other pharmacies in the Great Bend region participating are Hoyt Pharmacy, LaCrosse, 708 Main Street; and QoL Meds, 208 East 7th Street, Hays.
After its first month of operation, the Kansas Medication Disposal Program has 32 participating pharmacies. A map showing the locations of the pharmacies and household hazardous waste facilities was released Monday by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The web link (http://maps.kdhe.state.ks.us/ksmeddisposal) shows a map with pharmacies and household hazardous waste facilities.
The Barton County Household Hazardous Waste site, 350 NE Road, is available by appointment by calling (620) 793-1898. Household Hazardous Waste Facilities cannot accept the following items — narcotics and other controlled substances, illicit drugs, bloody and infectious waste, needles and other sharps, IV Bags, bandages and empty medication containers.
There are 287 chain pharmacies and 289 independent pharmacies in Kansas.
“We’re pleased with the interest in our disposal program and look forward to seeing additional pharmacies being added to the locator map as this interest grows,” said Debra Billingsley, secretary for the Kansas Board of Pharmacy, “Already, we have Kansans taking in their uncontrolled medications to these neighborhood pharmacies. Otherwise, those medications would still be in the home where the risk is there for improper use, intentional or not.”
More Americans abuse prescription drugs than use cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
And the number of people treated at Kansas hospitals for unintentional drug poisoning has increased 150 percent since 2000, according to KDHE officials. Between 2007 and 2009, children ages 5 and younger had the highest emergency department visit rate. Of the 2,499 people who went to the emergency room for drug poisoning in that period, 952 were children.
Until recently, unused prescription drugs were classified as hazardous waste, which meant legal disposal of drugs was difficult. One undesired result was that the drugs often were flushed down the toilet, creating problems for the municipal treatment plants that clean the water.
Now, the drugs essentially have been reclassified as regular household waste, which makes it easier for the pharmacies to accept the old drugs.
Those without a nearby collection location may take steps to safely dispose of medications with regular household waste, KDHE officials said. To do so, medications should be crushed and mixed with cat litter or coffee grounds.
Any unused drugs that are not controlled substances may be taken to participating pharmacies and household hazardous waste facilities.
Drugs containing controlled substances — including ephedrine and most narcotics, such as pain relievers, antidepressants and sleep aids — can be taken to local law enforcement locations. For information, contact a local sheriff’s office or police department.