Implications for a Drug Take Back Program in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System

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Title: Implications for a Drug Take Back Program in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System
Author: Brown, Tamika
Abstract: Abstract Brown, Tamika. Master of Environmental Assessment. Implications for a Drug Take-Back program in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare system. Recently there has been trace amounts of pharmaceutical drug residues found in surface waters and community drinking water from drugs that have been improperly disposed. While waste water treatment plants are tasked with removing chemicals from the water supply, they are not always able to completely remove drug residues during the treatment process. While trace amounts of drugs in the water supply does not seem like a huge cause for concern, there have not been enough studies conducted to understand the long term effects of exposure on human health and aquatic organisms. In an attempt to lessen the amount of drugs that make their way into the environment, drug take-back programs have been established in many states to ensure that disposed drugs are properly destroyed. While there are several planned drug take back days around the country that collects tons of unused and unwanted medications, a larger impact could be made from implementing a take back program within large health care facilities where patients would have daily access to medication drop offs. As the largest healthcare network in the United States, the Veterans Health Administration (VA) medical system could become the largest take-back program in the nation. Given the VA’s extensive network of facilities, integrated medical system, and in-house pharmacies it could become the gold standard by which pharmaceutical drug disposal is measured in the United States and abroad.
Date: 2014-05

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