change the sex of small fish and some can never be removed from our water supply.
An overriding concern is the ready availability of controlled substances like hydrocodone, oxycontine, and demerol -- getting into the hands of children, students, contractors, and even house guests. According to USA Today "prescription drugs are more accessible to teens than beer".
My experience shows doctors tend to over-prescribe pain-killers - out of habit, convenience and/or favor to their patients. Over-prescribing contributes to substance abuse and disposal issues. Example 1: An oral surgeon pulled my daughter's four wisdom teeth and prescribed 20 tabs of Hydrocodone 500M ("Vicodin") and 25 tabs of Ibufrofen 600mg. But, she only used 10 tabs of the Hydrocodone. (Some mothers refuse to give their kids any Hydrocodone, but the doctors still prescribe it in advance). When I called the office nurse about it, she told me "larger adults can take more." What does that mean? The doctor wouldn't return my call.
Example 2: I found 11 tabs remaining of a 20 tab prescription of Vicodin prescribed by an Urgent Care physician for a shoulder pain. Example 3: 28 of 40 expired Demeral tablets were found. I lock controlled substances in a safe. The examples in my house show our doctors prescribed twice as much controlled pain medication as my family needed.
So where do we dispose of these unused pharmaceuticals? I spent half a day figuring it out. Not one pharmacy I visited would take back the controlled substances. Most pharmacies refer you to Bartell Drug at Bridle Trail Village (425-881-5544). They have excellent service and advice. Bartell's take your non-addictive pharmaceuticals and incinerate them. Both Bartell and Group Health (425-882-6150) recommend you to throw controlled substances in the trash, ground up with water and coffee grounds. Group Health will dispose your non-addictive drugs in a locked container per their "take back program". I called Evergreen Hospital. They are looking into it.
The QFC pharmacist recommended flushing controlled substances like Vicodin and OxyContin down the toilet, per FDA advisory. She referred me to Redmond's Group Health "take-back" program. She also recommended pouring both non-addictive and controlled medications into a sealable plastic bag, crushing it and adding water and then add coffee grounds. I think the best website to visit for advice is http://www.safedrugdisposalnw.org/ . They don't recommend flushing any pharmaceuticals.
Redmond Councilman Hank Margeson has a keen interest in this problem and is working on it. Redmond Councilman Hank Myers is interested. Perhaps we can help Hank and encourage our State Representatives, candidates, and health care providers to take action?
Report and Opinion by Bob Yoder