Innovation That Matters

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Prescription disposal method aims to prevent opioid abuse

Sport & Fitness

A new method to dispose of unused prescription medications could help prevent opioid abuse in the home.

Many people have large quantities of unused or out of date prescription medications in their cabinets. This is a concern because, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, personal prescriptions are one of the main sources of non-medical opioid abuse. Now, North Carolina startup DisposeRx, has devised an innovative way for patients to destroy leftover medicines and avoid misuse of these drugs.

DisposeRx is a biodegradable polymer powder. Users simply add water to the prescription vial, with the unwanted pills still inside, and then add the DisposeRx powder. Next, they shake the mixture for around 30 seconds. A polymer gel will form, binding to the medication and making it impossible to use. DisposeRx will work with almost any type of medication, including powders, pills, tablets, capsules, liquids and patches. Once the gel has formed, the vial can be safely thrown away. DisposeRx is biodegradable and will eventually decompose into methane and carbon dioxide.

The company is initially targeting hospitals and care facilities as a safe way to get rid of large quantities of out-of-date medications. They are also hoping that pharmacies will begin dispensing packets of DisposeRx with each prescription. They have recently signed an agreement with Walmart which has 4,700 pharmacies nationwide. Walmart will dispense a packet of DisposeRx free with every opioid prescription filled, along with an opioid awareness brochure. We have recently covered other innovations aimed at improving health care, such as a drink that reduces the risk of tooth decay and a device that can detect hidden bacteria in wounds. With the growing problem of opioid abuse, what other innovations might help prevent drug abuse?



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