Spike in Spare Medication Collection, is Over Prescription to Blame? 2/9/13
CBS 7 News
February 9, 2013
With prescription drug use on the rise, it's no surprise that there's spare medicine lying around.
The Palmer Dug Abuse Program started taking in spare medications in 2010 to help fight a trend in prescription substance abuse in our area.
They took in record 870,000 pills last year—much higher than the 100,000 they got in 2010.
We asked Medical Center Hospital’s clinical pharmacy specialist if over prescription is the reason why there are so many pills floating around.
"Yes and No,” said Joshua Ward, Medical Center Hospital’s clinical pharmacy specialist. “Healthcare providers need to educate patients more on what the medication is, why they are taking it and when to take it."
Ward says over prescription does happen, but is rare.
"Everybody’s human and makes mistakes, but that's why we have so many checks and balances in place,” Ward said. “In the hospital, for example, we have 6 or 7 checks before it even gets to the floor."
But what's not rare is when patients don't finish their prescriptions or don't keep up with medications prescribed by different doctors.
"Say antibiotics, you start to take it then say 'I don't need this anymore' but antibiotics need to be used to their full treatment,” Ward said.
PDAP says it doesn’t track people who drop off their medications, but they see some trends.
"I don't think there's any one reason to pinpoint,” said PDAP Program Coordinator Kim Henderson. “If you're like me you go to the doctor and you don't like the way it makes me feel, so I don't take it."
PDAP told us they started their collection to reduce substance abuse after seeing a rise in the Permian Basin.
They say disposing of medications safely can help reduce abuse and potential harm to the environment that can come from dumping or flushing spare medicine down the toilet.
PDAP has a drop box for prescription drugs at the Midland County Sheriff’s Office on 400 South Main St. They will be opening a second box sometime next week. You can call them directly with questions about the recycling program at (432) 685-6345.