Competency #2 – Law and Ethics

Using reference material such as your textbook and the Internet research either topic A or B. Select either topic A or B. Post your research in the comment box below. Your posting should be between 1-3 paragraphs. Good writing skills are required.  After the topic has been posted please respond to at least two other students’ posting.

When responding to your fellow students the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Information clearly relates to the topic and adds new concepts or information. It includes several supporting details and/or examples.
  • Enhances the critical thinking process through reflection and difference questioning of self and others.
  • Encourages interaction among your classmates.
  • Professional vocabulary and writing style are used throughout the discussion.


A. State the ways in which controlled substances must be disposed of to maintain compliance with government regulations.

B. Research a recent health-care legislative issue. Please include the web site or location for the issue.

17 Responses to Competency #2 – Law and Ethics

  1. Charlotte Bender says:

    State the ways in which controlled substances must be disposed of to maintain compliance with government regulations.

    Hospitals and clinics often become a temporary home for a variety of controlled substances; these substances can be toxic, harmful, or dangerous to employees and the environment and therefore must be disposed of properly. The Department of the Drug Enforcement and Administration has outlined several ways to dispose of controlled substances.

    Currently, the DEA advises several ways to dispose of controlled substances. The first is to flush or wash the substances into the waste water system. The second way is to mix the controlled substance with an unpalatable substance (such as coffee grounds) and put it with other waste; the third is to hand off the substances to a DEA authorized disposal. The first two ways are only supposed to be used if the controlled substance has NOT been utilized – a very weird standard for disposal purposes.

    Obviously, issues have arisen with these disposal techniques. There are issues of substances leaking into water sources, pollution of soil and even issues of ease and efficiency. Currently, the DEA is discussing all of these matters to try and find a way to limit the unsanitary and unsafe disposal of controlled substances.

    • easheppard says:

      You bring up a good point, that the DEA recommends flushing unused drugs into the water system. This has lead to lots of problems as far as patient flushing antibiotics into the water system leading to adverse effects to other peoples health. They should implement better systems then this very soon.
      Unfortunate people are going to do whatever they want in their own home and this includes flushing pharmaceuticals in the water system when they should turn them into their local hospital.

    • pwilliams8 says:

      currently there is no approved way of disposal outlined in the DEA. proposal, only that an authorized entity do the disposal.

  2. ella says:

    State the ways in which controlled substances must be disposed of to maintain compliance with government regulations:

    While defining pharmacy practice and regulating the profession has primarily been left to the individual states based on the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, the federal government regulates drug distribution through the Interstate Commerce Clause. This regulation of drug distribution often results, either directly or indirectly, in the regulation of the profession of pharmacy as well. The federal government also has implemented legislation affecting pharmacy practice based on participation in such programs as Medicaid. The counseling provisions of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, while not directly requiring pharmacist actions, did require the individual state governments to establish expanded standards of practice or risk losing federal funding of their programs. In effect, a backdoor approach to regulating the profession was utilized.

    Over the years, much of the federal legislation that has been passed by Congress has proven itself useful by providing the safety and security that our society has come to expect. Pharmacists have embraced this legislation, albeit sometimes reluctantly, as most legislation has imposed new requirements in such areas as record keeping, counseling, and packaging of pharmaceuticals.

    The FDC Act served as a replacement to the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.2 This earlier act prohibited interstate commerce in misbranded and adulterated foods, drinks, and drugs and was most concerned with purity, not safety, issues. In addition, the 1906 act did not prohibit false therapeutic claims and, in some cases, even protected those claims. Furthermore, the 1906 law did little to inform patients as it did not require the label to list ingredients, include directions for use, or provide warnings regarding the product.

    Because of the shortcomings of the 1906 Act, the FDA petitioned Congress for a new act. Between 1933 and 1937, a legislative battle ensued to replace the 1906 law.3 Ultimately, it was a therapeutic disaster in 1937 that motivated Congress to act. A Tennessee company marketed a sulfa drug in an untested solvent that resulted in the death of over 100 people, many of whom were children. The public outcry not only reshaped the drug provisions of the new law to prevent such an event from happening again, but it propelled the bill through Congress. This new law also brought cosmetics and medical devices under control and required that drugs be labeled with adequate directions for use. This new law also mandated premarket approval of all new drugs, such that a manufacturer would have to prove that a drug was safe before it could be sold. Today, because of this law, pharmacists have the assurance that the pharmaceuticals they dispense are of the highest quality and safety of any drugs in the world.

  3. aptwyman says:

    State the ways in which controlled substances must be disposed of to maintain compliance with government regulations.

    There are a few ways to deal with controlled substances in order to be in compliance with government regulations. Also certain things are different in different states. If a pharmacist takes back a drug from a patient he is not allowed to restock the item back into his shelves. There is a procedure for a non registrant to dispose of controlled substances. The non registrant must submit a letter to the local DEA special agent in charge. The letter includes the name address of person, the name and quantity of each controlled substance, and how they obtained the substance. If such disposal is allowed the special agent will instruct the person how to dispose of the substance. Which could be transfer it to a person who is registered, destruction in front of a agent, or by other means of the special agent. This is a very limited circumstance that this occurs for disposable of controlled substances.

    Another way of disposable of controlled substances would be take back programs. These programs comply with federal and state laws. They are designed to collect unwanted or unused pharmaceuticals that pose a risk to public health and safety. I have seen these programs before and think they are really good ideas, an easier way for people to dispose of medicine. I know there is one coming up this month here in Fairbanks that I just saw a flyer for yesterday.

    It doesn’t seem like there are enough ways to dispose of controlled substances legally. The take-back programs don’t happen very often so you have to gather up and wait for one to happen every year. It is best to do it the right way though because of the people who will do anything to get there hands on controlled substances that shouldn’t be anywhere near it.

    • hhelton2 says:

      I always used to just flush leftover meds down the toilet until I found out about the take-back programs. I told my pharmacist once that I just flushed them and he about jumped over the counter telling how illegal and wrong that was. I felt so embarrassed, and every time I have left over meds I picture that angry pharmacist’s face…what a reminder to not flush huh?

    • anmacey says:

      I wonder how many people actually comply with the Federal regulations or still flush their medications down the toilet. It would be nice if take-back programs offered incentives to people to follow the guidelines. If the programs offered some type of discount off their next medication purchase it may persuade more people to not just flush their medications.

  4. Megan Hockin says:

    State the ways in which controlled substances must be disposed of to maintain compliance with government regulations.
    There are several ways in which the government regulates the use of controlled substances. Any person who handles controlled substances must register with the Drug Enforcement Administration in the U.S. Department of Justice. All records must be complete and accurate. Maintaining the inventory on said substances and periodically filing reports with the DEA helps to ensure proper storage and distribution. The Controlled Substances Act sets the guidelines to be followed when producing, possessing, and distributing such substances. Failure to follow the CSA’s rules can result in fines or imprisonment for violation.
    The DEA states that registrants may need to dispose of these substances due to expiration, damage, and contamination. One option given for disposal is returning the substance to the pharmaceutical manufacturer who may accept outdated or damaged returns. A distributor itself may also dispose of the controlled substance under certain regulations. It is extremely important to know how to handle these substances due to their abuse and dependence.
    Any unwanted substances that need to be destroyed must first go through a process. Sending a letter to the DEA notifying them of the substances to be destroyed with the facility name and address and listing the controlled substance and its quantity. Then arrangements can be made with DRS for the disposal. Given the importance of these rules dealing with controlled substances I think the government requiring persons register with DEA before handling of these substances is an important step.

  5. hlgustafson says:

    Research a recent health-care legislative issue. Please include the web site or location for the issue.

    Recent Developments in Nutrition and Health Care Legislation

    This is a bill that the House of Representatives voted to cut on September 19, 2013 it is going to deny 210,000 free school meals for low income children. This is also going to force 3.8 million people off SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps).

    The results of this are to support health care that will strengthen Medicaid to cover almost all of the lower income Americans. Also extending care to community health centers. Another result of this cut is to approve a model national health programs that will develop Medicare as a long term goal.

    It’s interesting to see what the House of Representatives are willing to take way but only to give back in another. I do understand that our country in is the hole when it comes to money. But does that mean they are not going to provide school lunches for the low income kids? It will be interesting to see how this bill all pans out if it is fully approved.

  6. easheppard says:

    Research a recent health-care legislative issue. Please include the web site or location for the issue.

    I was going to go with the regulations on controlled substance disposal but I see that this subject has been covered pretty well. So I am going with the topic of a recent health-care legislative issue. This recent legislative issue that I am going with deals with the Affordable Health Care Act and how this new legislation is affect other aspects of the health care industry.
    The website of the National Association of Health Underwriters mentioned one of the issues we are currently dealing with in Health Care which is the Long-Term care, the cost of taking care of the baby-boomers is rising everyday as the population grows older, they relay on more avenues to be taken care of. One of these concerns is if social security will even be available in the future to help pay for cost if the current baby-boomers use up all the funding.
    The NAHU suggest that in order to help assist with the cost of this health care to start a long-term care insurance “On January 1, 2013 as part of the deal to advert the fiscal cliff, the class act was officially repealed, but NAHU believes that long-term care reform is essential and that in place of the CLASS act; congress should pass some simple reforms and tax incentives make it easier for Americans to make the financially responsible decision to purchase private LTC insurance”(NAHU). The website also provides some information on other health care legislative issues that are currently happening that involve private health care insurance and Affordable Health care act.

    I then did some research and they state that the current baby boomers will benefit from the legislation of the Affordable Health care act. This does make me wonder though who will be paying the most for this health care, and will the current generation benefit from health care reform like the baby boomers or will it be dried up by the time it comes to that point like social security.

  7. hhelton2 says:

    Research a recent health-care legislative issue.

    On September 19, the House of Representatives voted to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) by $40 billion by a vote of 217-210. This bill would force 3.8 million people off SNAP in 2014, deny 210,000 low-income children free meals at school, and cut benefits for 850,000 households by an average of $90 per month.

    All Democrats and 15 Republicans opposed the bill and it came one vote away from defeat. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the first line of defense against hunger in America. It has been enormously successful at assisting families through the recent economic crisis (SNAP lifted 4.7 million people out of poverty in 2011), literally putting food on the table for 47 million people per month, most of them children. Feeding America, who provided us the toll-free number to use, reported that over 5,000 calls had been made about protecting SNAP. Many more contacts were made through direct calls, calls to local offices, and e-mails.

    There are so many individuals out there adults and children that rely on the SNAP program I don’t understand why there should even be a debate!! They obviously need the program, and without it would be such a horrible outcome. There are those who abuse it, but I just don’t understand why they can’t weed those people out, and not try to take the program away from the ones who truly need it. It killed me researching this topic, all I could think about was crying hungry kids.

    • anmacey says:

      I had such trouble finding any legislative issues online except for Obama Care so congratulations on finding such an interesting issue. I am amazed that this decision has come about and especially when it is so close. America contributes so many resources to other countries while our families are still going hungry. For many kids they only receive their meals because of SNAP and free lunches at school so I don’t know how the government thinks these families will survive.

    • klinda says:

      Great job on your post, you provided some great insight and lots of details to support your findings. Very interesting ;)

  8. anmacey says:

    While doing my research for how to dispose of controlled substances I came across several different sources with many different theories for how controlled substances should be disposed of. However, the Federal government has come up with a set of regulations called the Food and Drug Act (Title 21). It is no longer acceptable to dispose of medication by flushing it down the toilet because it can work its way back into the water system and people can become exposed to the various types of controlled substances.

    When a person wants to dispose of a controlled substance they are required to fill out a form called a DEA Form 41 which asks you to list the controlled substance you are trying to dispose of. You then must submit the form to DEA. Once the DEA received your form instructions will be sent back with information on how to destroy the controlled substances. In some cases the DEA may request you to destroy the substance in front of a DEA agent.

    When disposing of controlled substances you must also consider state laws and contact the state board of pharmacy which will work with the DEA to tell you how to dispose of the controlled substance. There are also other options such as bringing your medication to events held by local pharmacies and law enforcement agencies where they will take on the responsibility of destroying the controlled substance. Another option given by the U.S. Wildlife and Fish Service, American Public Health Association, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has come up with another choice for at home disposal. They suggest taking the medication crushing and/or dissolving it, and then mixing it with substances such as kitty litter, sawdust, or coffee grounds. Take the mixed material and throw it away in the trash while making sure all personal information is concealed.

    • klinda says:

      Great points, I liked that you pointed out an important fact in saying that the controlled substances can work their way back into the water system, that makes sense an brings reason to be concerned. Great job =)

  9. klinda says:

    Disposing of a controlled substance correctly and according to government regulations is extremely important. Just for reference, The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 is a federal law that is enforced by the DEA. Just how the law requires strict guidelines in how controlled substances are dispensed, administered, and prescribed, those strict requirements are also needed in the disposing of those substances.

    There are a few ways in which you can follow to properly dispose of controlled substances. You can first follow the instructions for disposal that is provided either on the label or in the information packet that accompanies the prescription. Another suggestion is looking into community programs that offer the opportunity for the community to bring in their unused prescriptions for proper disposal. Making sure that all important information is scratched off or taken off so that there is no identifying factors that would link any information to you. You can always ask the pharmacist on suggestions for disposal or even ask if they dispose of them.

    There is mention of flushing prescriptions down the toilet, but you want to be cautious of doing that and only do that if there are specific instructions to do so. There also is a form that can be used, the Controlled Substance Disposal Form that can be obtained from the Department of Environmental Health & Safety.

    Again, it is vital that people are aware of and know the importance of making sure that controlled substances are disposed of correctly because they can easily get into the wrong hand. If anyone is unsure of what to do, it is better to ask than to just overlook it as being insignificant and actually take the time to ask at least the pharmacist as they should know who to contact.

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