The Cardinal Health Foundation is providing new guidelines that help pharmacists and other health care providers host medication disposal days.

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Cardinal Health offers guidance on drug disposal events

September 20th, 2011

DUBLIN, Ohio – The Cardinal Health Foundation is providing new guidelines that help pharmacists and other health care providers host medication disposal days.

Part of Cardinal Health's ongoing effort to prevent prescription drug abuse, the new guidelines announced Tuesday include information on how to contact local partners, obtain necessary permits, and drive participation in medication disposal days. They also include tips on optimal timing and locations for these events, a list of needed supplies, and follow-up steps for how to share the results.

The guidelines can be downloaded free of charge through Cardinal Health's website at

Cardinal Health noted that it has co-sponsored several medication take-back events near its headquarters in central Ohio in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Agency, local law enforcement, community partners and a large central Ohio health system. Combined, the medication disposal days collected and destroyed about 4,000 pounds of unused and expired medications.

The Ohio Department of Health, Cardinal Health and other agencies have used their experience from hosting these events to devise guidelines to help other organizations understand the steps involved in coordinating a drug take-back day.

"We've received a great response to our medication disposal days, and many of our retail pharmacy customers, in particular, have long been interested in tools that can help them understand how to host these sometimes complex events in their own communities," Steve Lawrence, senior vice president of retail independent sales at Cardinal Health, said in a statement. "We hope our new guidelines will encourage more pharmacists and health care providers to work with the DEA and local law enforcement to provide their communities with safe ways to dispose of medications."

In 2009, the Cardinal Health Foundation teamed up with the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy to develop two GenerationRx tool kits designed to help health care providers, pharmacists, parents, teachers and other concerned citizens educate teen and adult audiences about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

Cardinal Health reported that prescription drug abuse is the second-leading cause of accidental death nationwide, and in 16 states and the District of Columbia it's the leading cause of accidental death. It's estimated that each day about 2,500 children ages 12 to 17 abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time. Cardinal Health noted that medication disposal days can help curb these trends by providing a community with a safe, convenient way to dispose of expired or unused medications.