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K-TRACS resources emphasize safe medication practices

Feb 09, 2021

Proper medication storage and disposal can reduce the risk for unintentional drug poisoning and prescription drug misuse, abuse and diversion.

The K-TRACS Provider Toolkit, available on the K-TRACS website, contains resources to help guide patient conversations and reinforce in-person interactions about safe medication practices.

Safe medication storage and disposal is critical to the safety of Kansas families. According to the 2020 Kansas Communities That Care Survey, 74% of teens who reported using a prescription drug not prescribed to them said they gained access to the drug through friends and family.

Up to 40% of prescription medications are not completely used and are likely to remain inside the home with or without secure storage options in place (National Community Pharmacists Association). Those secure storage options include a locked kitchen cabinet, lockbox or safe.

Nightstands, kitchen counters or tables, bathrooms, the top of the refrigerator, and any unlocked cabinet or drawer are not recommended for medication storage due to a lack of security and/or lack of temperature and humidity control.

Medication take-back programs are commonly used to provide safe medication disposal options. In Kansas, more than 100 pharmacies are part of the Kansas Medication Collection and Disposal Program, offering a convenient, safe and environmentally responsible option for patients to dispose of unwanted medications. Other pharmacies and law enforcement agencies are registered with the DEA to take back medications in a similar manner.

A 2019 study identified consumer motivations for disposing of unused opioid medications. Among the top 5 motivations was the response, “I was instructed by a health care practitioner whom I trust.”

To help healthcare providers engage with patients about the importance of safe medication practices, K-TRACS offers a Provider Toolkit containing print and digital materials in English and Spanish that can be shared with patients.

The toolkit also provides downloadable pocket guides for healthcare providers to use as checklists and conversation starters with patients.

The free downloads are available at http://ktracs.ks.gov/using-k-tracs/provider-toolkit.