Category Archives: Ask The Angry Pharmacist

Drug Disposal Questions

Once in a while I’ll get a few good questions that I think should be public knowledge. In fact, I even made its very own category for it! I only try to pick questions that a lot of people ask, and something that I can make funny and entertaining to read. As always members of the profession can chime in via comments to add onto the mayhem.

I have never worked in a pharmacy, so I have to ask…
Are there really THAT MANY people who are “strung out” on Vicodin (and
other opioids)? Judging by what I’ve read on this board, it sounds like
Vicodin prescriptions make up like 75% of all the Rxs filled! Is it really
this big of a problem? Soma, too?

Short Answer: Yes
Long Answer: Oh fuck yes. You are right, depending on your location, you’ll see the number 1 Rx based on pill volume for most community/retail settings will either be Vicodin/ES, Soma, Tyl#3, or Valium. Hands down no question about it. It might not be #1 (I think glyburide is up there pretty good, just because EVERYONE is on #120/month), but i’ll bet your ass the goodies are in the top 5.
Now strung out. Lets see what stories I have:

  • Phone calls are the best. They sit there in silence, make no sense as they call in their vicodin refills early, and have zero memory of doing so. They’ll call back in 20 min asking the exact same thing. You can tell from their voice that they are gone to Vicodin-Town.
  • When they come into the store, they have that glassy not-there look. Take someone who is really drunk, remove the smell, and have them (and their 5 screaming children) wander up to your counter asking for a refill on an Rx they picked up yesterday.
    Next question, YOU! The blonde with the gynormous boobies in the back!

    You bring up something I have been wanting to ask but didn’t want to
    broach…
    Now that I am minus a brain tumor, I am off all of my pain meds [Fentanyl
    and Morphine]. What do I do with the extra patches? I haven’t known who to
    trust to hand them over, and you know why.
    Should I turn them in to the pharmacist, really? (Not questioning your
    judgement, just asking for reassurance)

    And your well endowed friend next to you:

    You say that your patients/clients can return unused medications to be
    destroyed, do most pharmacies do this? If not, what is the best way to
    dispose of old medication? Sorry for the questions, my grandmother died in
    April and my family hasn’t done anything with all her medicine yet.

    If ever you have medication that you want destroyed, you should bring it back to the pharmacy it came from. In the fentanyl patch case, yes, you should return it to the pharmacy. We’re not scummy cops who pocket guns and drugs from raids to use/bring home to their kids. We actually care about our license, and our profession so we will dispose of the unused (or used) patches. Especially with the 100mcg fentanyl patches you want to make sure you take them and hand them to the pharmacist directly for disposal. Cutting them up and throwing them away can have really bad results, so dont do it.
    The same goes for unused pills that you bring back. To make it sound official we say that we “Have procedures in place to dispose of all dangerous drugs in an environmentally safe fashion”. Honestly all we really do is dump the pills into a huge sharps container, and the nice lady who does our outdated drug returns takes it to a place where its incinerated. No, they are not dumped into a giant toilet and flushed. Flushing stuff like pills really isn’t a good idea anyways, because stuff like Klor-Con tends to stick together worst than a post-thanksgiving turd and will plug your toilet. Yes, personal experience talking here (the pills, and the thanksgiving turd).
    I’m pretty much free to answer any question you may have about pharmacy, life, etc. If you want liberal political bantering, go to the DrugNazi’s. This is pharmacy-only (which I’m sure you guys appreciate). You can email me at druglord/at/theangrypharmacist/dooooot/com (Stupid spambots). Now I will choose what questions I pick based upon how angry and entertaining I can make the responses, so don’t get your feelings hurt if I don’t answer your question.
    Oh, and happy 1st to all the pharmacists out there. I hope today wasn’t too killer.