William Simpson on drug disposal solutions ~
“A lot of people are pulling together to try to find some things that work. The sweet spot of this will be finding a combination of solutions. There’s no silver bullet here that’s going to help us from an epidemic perspective. . . We need to find the solutions that work. . . DisposeRx is 10 to 30 seconds . . . “
William Simpson: In ten to thirty seconds I’m breaking the chain of abuse, and that’s brilliant.
Brian Wilson: As the Director and President of DisposeRx William Simpson is passionate about his product. He’s also passionate about his team, about preventing addiction, and about educating people on the simplest ways to dispose of their medications. He sat down to share his passion and to talk about a certain kind of medication that people don’t often think of as being dangerous.
Brian Wilson: How did you come to be associated with this project?
How and Why William Simpson Signed on With DisposeRx
William Simpson I was very lucky. I got introduced to Dr. John Holiday. Met here in D.C. I was up for a different meeting, and I was told I got to meet this guy. He’s got a really interesting ideas – met at a hotel – and told me a great story and an unbelievable idea of how he came up with the idea, the importance of disposal, the importance of doing it from the way that it was, and got me hooked on the idea of site of use, which is, in our opinion, the vial which the medication is dispensed.
From that point, started to do research and looked at how important this topic was when you look at medication management, and you look at us as consumers of what we do and the amount of medication that’s actually left in our medicine cabinets. About 40% of us have unused medication. Over 600 million prescriptions go unused a year, sitting in our medicine cabinets, so you’ve got about 125 million households and about 600 million vials of unused medication.
Brian Wilson: Families are now coming to understand that having those drugs in the medicine cabinet is such a danger.
Unused or Expired Medications Left in Medicine Cabinet can be Diverted for Misuse
William Simpson It really is. From a health perspective, from a financial perspective, the value is having medicines that we’re on therapy with. And with all the complications of understanding which medications we’re supposed to be taking, which medications we’re not supposed to be taking, you don’t need to have the complexity of adding additional medications to that mix.
From that perspective and the dangers of leaving medications unused, not just from a standpoint of opioids, but there’s a litany of other medications that are dangerous to leave that can be diverted for misuse. Even think about things like antibiotics. If you think about becoming resistant to antibiotics, and we’ve all not taken our antibiotics correctly, and we all do misuse medications at times. To do this in the right way and have something when you think about medication management and how we should manage our own, having a disposal mechanism that we can use as consumers at home is very simple.
Brian Wilson: The miracle of modern pharmacology is that we have these amazing drugs that can help us. When we have the right symptoms, we get the right drug, we get better. But our responsibility with that drug does not end when we start to feel better. We have another responsibility. That’s to make sure it’s disposed of properly.
Responsibility to Manage AND Properly Dispose of Medications
William Simpson Correct. I’m not a doctor, so I don’t want to ever tie my doctors’ hands of what they can and cannot prescribe to me. That is their practice. That is what they need to know and do. I need to be educated as a patient on how best to take my medications, but you can’t educate me on half the pie. You have to educate me on every aspect of it. When you think about adherence to medication, you think about compliance to medication, both of these numbers are challenging for the ecosystem. You’ve got 30% primary non-adherence. You’ve got 50% compliance on medications. But what do I do from a full management of that process, and how do I do that? I’ve got to be told how to manage both the disposal of it, not just the intake of it, but the disposal of that medication because it’s something that we need to do for our communities.
Diversion is not a drug issue. It’s a human issue. The epidemic that we face is a community issue. It’s something that affects each one of our communities, our families, not just a National issue. We have to think about that from a National perspective, but from my neighbor, from the people down the street, from the children in our local school system. These are the things that we have to try to be careful of and try to educate people on the right ways to manage medication because it does go … at times, when you get prescribed something, you just kind of take it, and you don’t know. That label’s confusing. The process of management is confusing. Is it working? How do I know? Those are the types of things that we have to understand.
Having tools that we can use as consumers, we have boxes of band-aids at home so that we can just cover a little nick. We should have something that we can easily do and destroy medications when the time is appropriate. From a behavioral perspective, of how we work as humans, if we’re given no choice, we do nothing, which is not good. If we’re given a choice, we should do it at the time that it’s relevant, which is the time that we decide to go off therapy of that medication.
Brian Wilson: Well, it’s an education process, and that’s part of what this series of reports is all about.
William Simpson Correct.
Brian Wilson: The problem comes when someone in the family is not proactive. You get distracted, you don’t think about it. You look at it every day in your medicine cabinet, but you don’t take any action. It just sits there, it sits there until someday it can be abused. If that sends someone down the pathway to an addiction, that can be resolved by 30 seconds of proactive action on the part of a mom or a dad.
One Pill Can Lead to Addiction | Consumer Prescription Medication Education Should Include Proper Disposal
William Simpson And that’s the scary part. When people don’t realize that it’s one pill. One pill can cause an addiction. One pill can cause a death. Again, not being a doctor, you think about the different milligrams. You think about the different … If you’re given a drug, and I’m given a drug, there’s a difference in today’s drugs. The way that medication is dispensed today, there’s a lot of difference.
The concern is pendulum swinging legislation, when you think about I want to make sure that you get the medication that you need. I don’t want your doctors’ hands tied because you’re in my community, and I want to make sure that you’re healthy and that you’re taking the medication that you need.
But you should be also managed and taught and given the tools to dispose of that medication. I think it’s important that we think about making sure that we’re not tying the hands of our pharmacists, which are warriors in the aspect of … they’re who I go to to understand about my medications, what I should be taking, how I should be taking it. They need to be working hand-in-hand with my doctors. When that system all works together with my payer and my pharmacist and my provider, that’s how it should work from just a health perspective as just somebody that paying into the system, I want it to work that way, and I want it to be efficient. By adding disposal to that conversation, you start to bring in some efficiencies of rounding out the whole process. I think that that’s where the excitement comes from our team. I think that’s where the excitement comes from conversations like this one and conversations that we’re having through this whole series of getting great opinions from thought leaders in the space that really understand the importance of changing the behavior of what we’re doing.
Announcer: You’re listening to Opioids: Hidden Dangers, New Hope. More when we return.
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You never threw them out, so they sit inside your medicine cabinet posing a risk to you, those around you and anyone who enters your home. Today going through medicine cabinets searching for drugs is done by people of all ages and backgrounds. In fact, over 70% of new opioid addictions begin in a home medicine cabinet. If storing unused and expired medications puts people at risk of accidental poisoning, addiction and death., why have them there at all?
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Brian Wilson: We talked about DisposeRx being the gold standard, but there are other ways that people can get rid of this stuff.
William Simpson Absolutely.
Brian Wilson: Compare and contrast.
Alternative Drug Disposal Methods – Sweet Spot is Combination of Disposal Solutions
William Simpson We are for any solution that cleans out the medicine cabinet. That’s first and foremost. We believe in neutrality from the perspective of what might work for you might be different than what works for me. We believe certain solutions work over others. We believe there’s some science and some data behind that. But we know that there are chemical solutions out there. There are other solutions out there that people can use in their neighborhoods.
A lot of people are pulling together to try to find some things that work. The sweet spot of this will be finding a combination of solutions. There’s no silver bullet here that’s going to help us from an epidemic perspective. Think about what happened with the AIDS epidemic. I was right around the Ryan White age, so you think about how I was affected with that. At that time, there were 100 solutions out there. Today, we’re looking at it as a chronic disease, not a death sentence. But you think about all the solutions that we talked about. As a society and as a community, we started to focus on those that are working, and the ones that are working have stuck with us, and the ones that don’t have moved on because that’s what they need to do. We need to find the solutions that work.
Brian Wilson: What about these take-back kiosks?
Take-back Kiosks – Value and Challenges
William Simpson They have a space in this conversation. They’ve been around for decades. There are some numbers out there that talk about the percentage of people that do use them. There’s some complexities in finding them and locating them. But there’s definitely a value to them in this ecosystem of disposal.
There are challenges. Again, anything that opens up the door to diversion, I think, is an issue. There are challenges to a kiosk. DisposeRx is 10 to 30 seconds, I’ve broken the chain of addiction. Kiosk box and other science-
Brian Wilson: Is where is it? How do I find it?
William Simpson You got it.
Brian Wilson: Where can I locate it? And you got to drive there.
William Simpson Well, you’ve got to drive there, so you’re asking me as a consumer to do more. That’s a challenge. And then you open up the opportunity to diversion. Again, diversion is a human issue. It’s something that will happen based on any number of reasons. It could be a financial reason. It could be an addiction reason. What we like to do as a company is we want to break that chain, but we also want to help.
Brian Wilson: You say diversion. I want to clarify that. What you’re saying is, if you drop them in a kiosk, you really don’t know what happens to those drugs after they’re dropped in the kiosk.
William Simpson Correct. As a person in the community, I’m hoping that the kiosk box is regulated. I’m hoping that there’s somebody that has a license that’s coming in and managing it correctly. I’m hoping it goes to a facility that is incinerating it but is incinerating it and capturing that smoke, so that smoke just doesn’t go up in the air and come back down on the ground. I’m hoping that a lot of things happen. Each one of those points has a moment in time where there’s a question. But there’s value in that question still. There’s value in cleaning up the medicine cabinet.
DisposeRx Value – Site-Of-Use, Quick, and Knowing What Happens to Meds
Brian Wilson: But if you have the DisposeRx product, you’re taking care of it in 30 seconds, and you know what the outcome’s going to be.
William Simpson You know what the outcome is. Absolutely. That’s the value.
Brian Wilson: You’re a pet owner.
William Simpson Yes.
Brian Wilson: So, occasionally, your pets have medication.
William Simpson Yes.
Brian Wilson: We don’t think so much about that, do we?
Disposal of Pet Medications
William Simpson It’s amazing of how much pet medication goes unused and how dangerous pet medication really is. When pet medication goes unused, it has the same effect of human medication that goes unused. The dangers are as great and sometimes even greater in the fact of pet medications left on the kitchen counter instead of the medicine cabinet, because that’s where I feed my dog.
That is a huge danger. Medication vials are … again, it’s a human issue. We have to help when we can by cleaning up the medicine cabinet from not just the human medications but pet medications is vitally important. The numbers are outstanding. I could quote a couple percentages, but you wouldn’t believe me on how high of how many pet meds go unused. It’s something that, as pet owners, we need to be responsible for as well.
Brian Wilson: We told people the importance of taking charge of their medicine cabinet and making sure that they don’t have dangerous drugs there. We’ve talked to people about the importance of protecting the environment. Let’s talk about the product itself and how you can actually find it.
William Simpson Well, we’re excited to say we started launching our product nationally with Walmart back in January of this last year. From a standpoint of getting your medications, from a standpoint of getting your prescriptions filled, Walmart has got a wonderful program of dispensing this at the point of fill with each acute opioid prescription.
Brian Wilson: So, they get it when they get their prescription?
William Simpson They get not just a packet of DisposeRx, but they get some of our educational material and some one-on-one time with the pharmacist themselves, talking about not just the importance of disposal but the importance of medication management.
Brian Wilson: But they may have other drugs that they need to take care of.
William Simpson We’ve got a handful of pharmacies that are also distributing the product, the DisposeRx. Walmart is also, if you went in and asked them for an additional packet, we also sell online, so you can go to our website, which will direct you to the Walmart.com website. At that point, you can buy different sizes. We have a six-box size, and we have a 30-box size.
Brian Wilson: Well, it seems to me that, if you find … let’s say we have one of these situations where you have an elderly family member, who’s been on drugs for a long time and finally passes. They may leave behind boxes of medication. You really need this stuff, so what are we talking about expense-wise for people to do the right thing?
William Simpson From buying a packet of DisposeRx from DisposeRx itself, it’s less than $1.50, so you’re looking at an unbelievably reasonable price for a very simple solution to dispose of your medication.
Brian Wilson: Maybe you could show us how that works.
William Simpson Happy to.
Brian Wilson: Okay.
William Simpson It’s always fun, and the science behind it is really good. From a standpoint of it does what it says it’s doing, you can’t ask for something simpler.
Brian Wilson: Right.
William Simpson What makes it so simple is the fact that you add a little water to your medicine vial. We have this beautiful pour spout to make it easy, so when you’re trying to put it into a small medicine vial … or even what’s important to me, your pet medications.
Brian Wilson: Oh, yeah.
William Simpson You think about all the unused pet medications. Sometimes those medicine vial opens are smaller. You just need to put the cap back on and then shake. What makes the science-
Brian Wilson: You’re still shaking, but I’m not hearing anything.
William Simpson You’re not hearing anything. What is so fun is, in 10 to 30 seconds, I’m breaking the chain of abuse, and that’s brilliant.
Brian Wilson: I love that thought. In 30 seconds, just by pouring some powder and some water, you’re changing the chain of abuse.
Breaking the Chain of Abuse
William Simpson You break the chain of abuse. When you look at the question of why, why is this important? Why is disposal important? Or the question of what can I do? In 10 to 30 seconds, I can do a lot. I can keep this medication. This vial is now safe. I can now just simply throw it in the trash. It’s landfillable. Wonderful, that’s what I can do. That’s what I can do for my community. That’s what I can do. If I’m being asked what I can do, that’s it. And you’re doing it in 10 to 30 seconds.
Brian Wilson: It’s not just your community. It’s your family, those around you are now protected.
William Simpson Absolutely.
Brian Wilson: They can’t abuse it. It can’t be used in an inappropriate way. It’s off the table.
William Simpson It’s off the table. And from a site of use perspective, what makes this so simple is this sits in my purse, this sits in my briefcase. This is not just the site of the vial in which the medication was dispensed. It’s also the site of where I am. If I’m on the road traveling, and I’m done with my medication, I can take care of this right now. I don’t have to go hunt. I don’t have to look for anything. I don’t have to do anything except find some warm water, find my vial, and shake the medication.
Brian Wilson: I can tell you have a great passion about this. What drives your passion for this product?
Changing Behavior Can Make Remarkable Difference in Community
William Simpson The fact of actually making a difference. I think there are a lot of things that people can do, but the fact that this simple idea can make a difference with our community is remarkable. We have the opportunity to change behavior, just like we have with other very important things. You think about the child-resistant enclosure. This cap was legislated in 1970, and in a two-year period, it changed the way that we manage our medications. In a two-year period, it decreased childhood death by an unbelievable percentage amount. I think it was in the 40s, if I recall. That’s an amazing thing. It was a very simple thing to do and an amazing thing to do.
The passion comes from being able to … we’ve got a great team of people. John has built a wonderful group. We’ve got a lot of passion with people that are working in different aspects of pharmacy and health systems and kind of the IT side of the world when it comes to health care. That’s fun. When you have a good group of people, and you have a good mission, it’s a lot of fun.
Brian Wilson: The message is clear, the mission is simple. To educate the public on the importance of disposing their unwanted medication and to give them an easy and inexpensive way to do it. See for yourself at DisposeRx.com. That’s disposerx.com.
Announcer: Thank you for listening to Opioids: Hidden Dangers, New Hope. Subscribe today where you get your podcast or visit opioids-hiddendangers-newhope.com for more information. This presentation is underwritten by DisposeRx.