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Iowa Takeaway Program Nears 110,000 Pounds of Medications

The TakeAway medication disposal program in Iowa is nearing the mark of 110,000 pounds of properly disposed prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

With over 22,000 pounds of expired and unused medications collected in 2014, the TakeAway medication disposal program in Iowa is nearing the mark of 110,000 pounds of properly disposed prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

TakeAway was implemented by the Iowa Pharmacy Association in 2009 as the preferred method for Iowans to dispose of their expired and unused medications. The program consists of more than 500 pharmacies from across the state's 99 counties. Sharps Compliance, Inc. is responsible for the ultimate disposal of the medications destroying them through a clean incineration process at a DEA registered facility in Carthage, Texas.

Proper disposal of medications through TakeAway is important in order to avoid contamination of Iowa's environment and water supply, accidental ingestion by children, seniors, and pets, and drug abuse/misuse by anyone from adolescents to the elderly. “TakeAway is a remarkable win/win/win program. It allows for patients to safely and conveniently dispose of their medications in a way that avoids contamination of the environment, along with accidental ingestion and drug misuse. It is a program that allows community pharmacists to be part of the solution to the problem of improper disposal,” explained Kate Gainer, IPA's executive vice president and CEO.

This milestone shows that the Iowa TakeAway program continues to be one of the leading statewide drug disposal programs in the nation. Funding for TakeAway was first approved by the Iowa legislature through a Department of Natural Resources grant in 2009. Current funding comes from an allocation from the Iowa Board of Pharmacy and other solicited grants to ensure no cost to pharmacies and patients to participate. IPA's goal is to ensure that a sustainable source of funding for the TakeAway program is identified in order to maintain the level of service provided by pharmacies to their communities.

As additional research is being conducted of the current program by The University of Iowa, preparations are being made to provide participating pharmacies the opportunity to accept controlled substances to align with the Secure & Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 and subsequent regulations of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). These upcoming changes to the program will further allow pharmacies to serve as a valuable resource to their communities to safely and effectively dispose of their unwanted or expired medications.


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