Unused drugs in sharps containers

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices’ (ISMP) recent article, “Partially Filled Vials and Syringes in Sharps Containers are a Key Source of Drugs for Diversion” describes a very serious issue in the healthcare industry, drug diversion. Drug diversion in hospitals and other medical facilities is a recurring problem but is rarely heard of. The title of the article itself details a common practice that allows visitors and healthcare professionals to divert drugs more easily. Unfortunately, this issue leads to drug overdoses and deaths too often, like “The Story” in the article. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental deaths in the US, and opioid addiction is driving this epidemic with more than 18,893 overdose deaths in the year 2014.

Leaving partially filled vials and syringes in red sharps containers typically goes unnoticed by facilities, but not by the people looking to divert drugs. The American Nurses Association states around 10% of nurses are thought to be abusing drugs and may even be caring for patients while impaired. The article lists many ways to avoid the issue or recognize that one is taking place as well as general best practice recommendations. One of the solutions listed mentions using the Smart Sink to resolve this issue. “In patient care areas, use sharps/pharmaceutical waste containers with small openings that do not easily allow medication devices or waste to be shaken out. (Some pharmaceutical waste containers [e.g., Cactus Smart Sink] render narcotics unrecoverable, non-retrievable, and unusable.)” 

The Smart Sink can help bring your medical facility into compliance by preventing improper disposal while simplifying the pharmaceutical waste process. It renders pharmaceutical waste "unrecoverable, non-retrievable and unusable" so the remaining portions of controlled substances do not end up in the wrong hands or impact the environment.

Read the full article here.

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