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A hospice nurse came out a few hours after I reported my husband's death, and asked for all unused meds from the comfort kit. She poured them all into a container and filled it with vinegar. Clearly she was not going to be using the pills! I don't remember how she disposed of the vinegar soaked meds. The vinegar would prevent them from being used, but would not prevent them from leaching into the water system.

I have a grocery bag of expired OTC and prescription pills, waiting until I was going to make a trip to our county seat, because that is where the safe disposal drop-off is. (Drug stores do not provide that service here.) I just learned that another location opened in my city. Hooray! I'll take them in next week.

Mister63, I don't know what the rules are in your location. The drugs belong to hospice, not to the family, and they are responsible for their disposal. "Putting them back in stock" MIGHT be acceptable for the hospice stock room. It certainly would not be for a drug store. And flushing down the toilet? Yikes! It is hard to believe that is an accepted protocol. So I would talk to a hospice administrator about what happened -- not in an angry or accusing way, but just sharing information. Maybe they have someone who did this years ago and now needs to be retrained.
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I hear where you are coming from Mister63. In my country, we have to return all unused meds to the pharmacy for safe disposal. If you are still concerned talk to a manager at the hospice about their protocols.
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In our hospice the nurse attending the death made a list of all narcotics. counted pills and measured liquids with a daily member watching if possible then both signed the list and it went into the patients record. About 15 years ago these medications were disposed of either in a fire or down the toilet. These days that is not allowed and the nurse will take them back to her office where again they will be measured and counted to make sure the second list agrees with the first, They are then disposed of at whatever facility is available in the area.
FF mixing your unused pills with kitty litter is a good idea and many people use this method but having them disposed in a handful does not keep them out of the water system.
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I wonder if it's a commercial question - we're actually advised to take expired/unused medications to a pharmacist for safe disposal. I don't suppose everybody does it but I've become mildly neurotic about going through the cabinet once a quarter and checking everything. Probably still getting over the cold sweat of finding mother's decade+ stash of ibuprofen, codeine, tramadol, paracetamol and diclofenac distributed round two bathrooms, the kitchen cabinets and her underwear drawer. Not to mention Daughter 1's squeak of "Granny! Why have you got an IV set in the downstairs loo?" (turned out to be from a travel emergency kit)
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Any meds ordered by Hospice are under the control of Hospice, thus it is up to the nurse to dispose of the medicine. I agree, it should NOT have been flushed down the toilet, be it liquid or in pill form.

I toss my unused pills into the trash once I put used cat litter into the container.

Any meds you paid for, and if it is in a safety sealed bottle, with the seal still intact, maybe the pharmacy will reimburse you. Any meds that are in prescription plastic or glass containers cannot be returned. It's my understanding that once the meds leave the pharmacy counter after pick-up, they cannot be returned. Which makes sense.
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I think with hospice its a law but...meds should not be flushed down the toilet. It gets into the water supply. Pharmacies do not take back meds even in an unopened container. Controlled substances have to be monitored. Order placed has to match to a drs. Prescription. I would call the Hospice and find out if this is procedure. And, yes Police Depts have started taking old scripts and having them properly disposed of. Another way if this is not available, is to put the pills in a can of used wet coffee grounds. The coffee grounds desolve the pilks and neutrolize them.

A question, are these pills u paid for? If so, if returned to the pharmacy u should get a refund. I know that blister packs sent back to pharmacies can get credited but not bottles. Good thing for all of us to know.
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The reason why we thought she may be keeping them was she said they were to be restocked at the pharmacy. I did not make myself clear on that point. Why do you have to give pain meds to hospice to destroy? Why can't the family do it? After the response from that particular hospice nurse, I would just rather destroy the meds myself. That way I know what happens to them. We can take meds to our local sheriff's dept.
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I took all of my mother's medications to the pharmacy for disposal, except for the controlled drugs (morphine and - can't remember, it was a sedative) which were taken away by the district nurse.

I'm not sure why you think it is not allowed to return drugs to a pharmacy? They can't re-use them, no, of course not; but they do have the correct facilities to dispose of unused drugs safely and correctly. Unless you have a really good incinerator you won't be able to do that.

And the nurse certainly shouldn't have been chucking morphine down the loo. But... spilled milk!

Do you have any reason to believe that the hospice nurse had nefarious plans for your stepfather's medication? I suppose if you're really concerned you can raise this question with her employer; but I wouldn't unless I was pretty sure she was up to no good.
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The reason I'm asking...my stepfather was on pain medication. He was on hospice. After he passed away, the hospice nurse poured a partial bottle of pain medication down the toilet. The unopened bottle she took and said she was returning it to the pharmacy. Which we all know is not allowed. I read an artical that said the medication belongs to the patient and when they pass away it belongs to the family. Do you have to give any unused pain medication to hospice? I have read many articals that say nurses, Dr's, etc have a high use of perscription drugs. Not all, but some.
Can I dispose of the medication myself after the hospice nurse leaves?
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Most police departments take unused medications to dispose of properly.
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