June 16, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Drug Prescribing/Dispensing Public Health Patient Care
The California State Board of Pharmacy has finalized rules for pharmacy prescription drug take-back programs. The proposed regulations are part of statewide efforts to combat prescription drug misuse by making it easier for patients to safely dispose of old and unwanted drugs.
A significant component of the prescription drug abuse and diversion problem stems from misuse of unused drugs. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, over 71 percent of prescription pain medications are obtained from family and friends, and 5 percent took the medication from a friend or relative without asking.
The California Medical Association (CMA) believes that increasing opportunities for the public to safely dispose of their unused prescription drugs will help prevent the misuse and diversion associated with these medications.
Under the new regulations, pharmacies are not required to provide drug take-back services. However, for those pharmacies that do, the regulations establish requirements that are based upon U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requirements.
Besides using pharmacy take-back services, the public can take unwanted prescription drugs – including controlled substances – to collection sites authorized by the DEA, which maintains an online search page of public disposal locations. The DEA also sponsors biannual drug take-back days at locations nationwide. More information about take-back services is available on the pharmacy board's drug take-back page.
The American Medical Association Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse, of which CMA is a member, has also released a new resource that physicians can use to promote safe use, storage and disposal of opioids and other medications. This and other resources are available onCMA's safe prescribing webpage .