Pill bottles for Health feature 10123

People wanting to properly dispose of unused prescription medications will be able to do so under a program hosted by Citrus Memorial Hospital.

The locations to drop off the medications between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, are:

*The Inverness Walmart, 2461 E. State Road 44, Inverness. Front entrance.

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*The Lecanto Walmart, 1936 N. County Road 491, Lecanto. Front entrance.

*The Homosassa Walmart, 6885 S. U.S. 19, Homosassa. Front entrance.

A study of medication wastage published in 2019 reported that two out of three prescription medications went unused or partially unused.

According to the study that reviewed medication usage literature during the past three decades, 42% of respondents who failed to use their medication said it was because their disease or condition improved. Nearly 6% cited forgetfulness, and 6.5% said there were unwanted side effects, according to the study published in Pharmacy.

The study concluded that “economically, the drug supply chain will not be cost-effective, as after the complex processes conducted to professionally prepare, store, and deliver these medications to patients, the end-products remain unused.”

“From the environmental viewpoint, wasted medications adversely affect humans, animals, and plants if they are not safely disposed of,” according to the study’s conclusions.

Some additional reasons for medicines going unused include the patient’s fear that medications will become unavailable to them when they need them and as a result overstock the drugs.

Patients also reported losing or misplacing their medications.

In some cases, health care providers wrote prescriptions for patients unaware that another health care provider had also done the same, the study found.  

The study reported that throwing medications in the trash was the most common household method of disposal.

The study also reported that pain medications (23%) and antibiotics (18%) were the most common medications to go unused.

According to a 2015 study by Virginia Commonwealth University, in 2012, there were more than 225 million dispensed medication prescriptions that were not used. The total cost of this waste was estimated at $30.4 billion.

Your unused medications can also fall into the wrong hands.

The medicine cabinet is the primary source of drugs for 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds," according to the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.

About 15% of unused medications are controlled substances, according to a 2016 study published by Geisinger Center for Health Research.

The best way to dispose of prescription medications is through drug take back programs, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The Geisinger study reported that most alarmingly only 11% of unused medication was disposed of through take back programs. The rest was mostly thrown in the trash or flushed down toilets.

Contact Chronicle reporter Fred Hiers at fred.hiers@chronicleonline.com or 352-397-5914.