The Alameda County Safe Medication Disposal Initiative Assessment

Teleosis Institute helped launch the Alameda County Medication Disposal Initiative, in partnership with Supervisor Nate Miley and the Alameda County Senior Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Workgroup. This initiative aimed to develop safe, convenient and environmentally responsible medicine disposal sites throughout Alameda County.

The SafeMEDS Workgroup hosted the two Alameda County Medication Disposal Conferences and developed legislation that became law in Alameda County Safe Medicine Disposal Ordinance in 2012.  As of May 1st, 2014, the ordinance went into effect, making it the first product stewardship law for pharmaceutical waste in the United States.

Read The Executive Summary

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Teleosis Institute is please to release the assessment of this unique public and environmental health initiative.

Key Findings:

  • In 2009 just 473 pounds were reported from one site. By 2013, the most recent year accounted for, 13,919 pounds were collected and disposed, with an average of 449 pounds per site.
  • The largest collection sites are the Alameda County Sheriff’s Station (1100 pounds), Eden Medical Center (1036 pounds), Washington Hospital (960 pounds) and Ted’s Pharmacy (936 pounds).
  • In 2013, the extrapolated costs of disposal are $27,838, with an average costs per pound of $2.00, down from $2.51 per pound in 2009.

Teleosis Institute offers the following recommendations:

  • Establishing one centralized agency to oversee a countywide program would minimize operational overlap and thus improve collection efficiency.
  • With roughly 51% of the county citizens within close proximity to a take-back site, new sites are necessary for residents that lack easy access to take-back sites.
  • Establishing new sites in larger medical institutions, such as hospitals, would likely provide the most efficient and effective results.
  • Educating pharmacists would likely improve collection rates in pharmacies and educating health executives, health professionals in primary care and end-of-life caregivers will likely improve program outcomes.
  • Centralizing management would simplify the waste collection system and drive cost of disposal down.

Read the Full Report: The Alameda County Safe Medication Disposal Assessment (high resolution)

Read the Full Report: The Alameda County Safe Medication Disposal Assessment (low resolution)