KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fewer Than Half Of California Pharmacies Give Correct Info On Drug Disposal

Incorrect disposal of prescription drugs can contribute to antibiotic resistance, poisoning, water pollution and misuse.

But a new study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine reports fewer than half of California pharmacies give proper guidance.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's guidelines for disposing of unused prescription drugs include mixing antibiotics with revolting trash, flushing opioids and using take-back programs.

But when researchers had secret shoppers contact California pharmacies during the week and ask what to do with their leftover prescriptions, only 49% gave correct guidance for antibiotics and only 20% offered proper information on opioid disposal.

On weekends, those numbers dropped to 15% and 7%, respectively.

Only 11% of the pharmacies reported having a program for antibiotic disposal. The same percentage said they offered an opioid disposal program.

Of 6,368 licensed pharmacies provided by the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs, 915 were sampled and 898 responded.

In related news, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office will host drug take-back events in January and February: 

  • Saturday, Jan. 11, from 7 to 10 a.m. at the Surprise Police Department, 14250 W. Statler Plaza, Surprise, AZ 85374
  • Saturday, Feb. 15, from 7 to 10 a.m. at Chandler Target, 3425 W. Frye Road, Chandler, AZ 85226
Nicholas Gerbis was a senior field correspondent for KJZZ from 2016 to 2024.