Less than 2 percent of patients return unused opioids for proper disposal

Hudson bill would require the FDA to set up a nationwide disposal program

Congressman Richard Hudson (N.C.-08) site on the U.S. Health Subcommittee as they hear from experts on fighting opioid addiction. Washington, D.C. March 23, 2018. Source: Office of Congressman Richard Hudson

Concord — On Tuesday, Serenity House in Concord outside of Charlotte opened its doors to policymakers to discuss ways to tackle opioid addiction.  In a roundtable with local leaders, Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08) heard from administrators of the substance abuse rehabilitation center on their front-lines perspective.

“Serenity House is a great example of that and a beacon of hope for people struggling with addiction. I’ll continue to support our local experts and work with them and others on the frontlines to confront these challenges in our community,” said Hudson.

The visit followed two-day hearing last week in Washington, D.C., of the U.S. House Health Subcommittee. Dr. John Holladay, CEO of DisposeRx based in Southern Pines, spoke to the lawmakers about educating the public on proper disposal and handling of medications to help stem the explosion of opioid addiction. DisposeRx makes a powder that mixes with water inside the pill bottle and destroys any unused opioids and makes them biodegradable.

“The failure to properly dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs from our home medicine cabinet, managed care facilities, hospitals and hospice centers has dramatically contributed to the rapid increase of prescription drug abuse, accidental poisonings, opioid overdoes and the pollution of our nation’s public water supplies,” Holladay told the congressional committee last week.

Hudson sits on the subcommittee which is considering two dozen bills aimed at improving public health, including Hudson’s own measure that would direct the FDA to set up a program for return of unused Schedule II drugs and would task the General Accounting Office (GAO) with studying new technologies for safe disposal of medications.

A survey in the Journal of Drug Abuse revealed that only 1.4 percent of consumers returned their unused medications to their pharmacy. About 50 percent throw their medications in the trash and more than a third dispose of their medications in the sink or toilet.