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Sharp Health News

A safe place for unused medication

Nov. 6, 2018

A safe place for unused medication

Danny Huynh, director of pharmacy, stands next to the new kiosk installed at Sharp Chula Vista’s outpatient pharmacy.

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use, 6.2 million Americans abuse controlled prescription drugs. The availability of unused medications at home or in the homes of friends or family can facilitate addiction.

So, what should people do with medications they no longer need, or that are expired?

“Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue,” explains Danny Huynh, director of pharmacy at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. “Pharmaceutical drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs when taken without a prescription or doctor’s supervision. Plus, unused drugs that are flushed down the toilet have the potential to contaminate water supply.”

To respond to this public health emergency, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) partners with health care providers across the county to hold its annual “Drug Take Back Day” each October to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths, as well as protect our environment.

The Drug Take Back events are one of the safest ways to properly dispose of medications; however, they are not always readily available.

In response, Sharp Chula Vista has installed a MedSafe Prescription Medication Disposal Kiosk to assist in preventing prescription medication abuse in the community. The kiosk is free and available for everyone to use, year-round.

“The MedSafe kiosk is a safe process that meets DEA regulations for the collection of unused and expired prescription medications,” says Huynh. “We’re hopeful that by offering this service year-round, we’ll help save lives and protect our environment by encouraging others to properly dispose of their prescription medications.”

The kiosk at Sharp Chula Vista is the first of many to be installed throughout Sharp HealthCare. The next kiosk will be installed at Sharp Coronado Hospital in the coming months.

The MedSafe Prescription Medication Disposal Kiosk at Sharp Chula Vista is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays; it is closed on Sundays. Illegal drugs and needles are not accepted for use in the kiosk.

For the news media: To talk with Danny Huynh about the year-round medication disposal kiosk at Sharp Chula Vista for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

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