Category Archives: Health Regulation

DHEC: Safely Dispose of Unused Medicine during National ‘Take Back Day’

Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands.

That’s why DHEC is encouraging residents to drop off unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs at participating locations around the state during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday, Oct. 27.

Held twice a year, this national event organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provides a safe, convenient and responsible way for the public to dispose of prescription drugs while also increasing awareness about the risks of unused or expired medicines, including those that remain easily accessible in medicine cabinets.

“While it’s easy to overlook, leaving old or unused prescription medicines in your home can be associated with a lot of risks, including being mistaken for other medications and being abused by someone seeking recreational drugs,” said Shelly Kelly, DHEC’s Director of Health Regulations. “DHEC is proud to support the ‘Take Back Day’ initiative to assure medicines are disposed of properly.”

Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained  ̶  often unknowingly  ̶  from family and friends. Take Back Day aims to restrict household drug theft, reduce childhood overdoses, limit the accumulation of drugs by the elderly and protect the environment from pharmaceutical contamination that can be caused by improper disposal of medications.

To find Take Back Day drop-off locations throughout South Carolina, visit takebackday.dea.gov and use the collection site locator. Medicines can be dropped off from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at participating locations. The event is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

During the April 2018 Take Back Day, Americans turned in 474.5 tons of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 locations.

For details, visit takebackday.dea.gov or contact the DEA at 202-307-1000. For more information about DHEC’s recommendations for disposing of unwanted medicine, visit scdhec.gov.

DHEC in the News: Diabetes, certificates of need, mosquitoes and ticks

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Participants sought for Prevent T2 diabetes prevention program; info sessions this week

Do you have prediabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol or are you over age 18 and overweight? If so, you qualify to participate in a free program designed to prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Prevent T2 is a year-long program designed for people with prediabetes, or what is also referred to as borderline diabetes, as well as those who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes and want to lower their risk.

Trident Medical Center applies for 2 certificates of need

Trident Medical Center has filed two certificates of need with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control for new health care facilities in North Charleston and on James Island.

General Interest

Illnesses from Mosquito, Tick, and Flea Bites Increasing in the US

Illnesses from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have tripled in the U.S., with more than 640,000 cases reported during the 13 years from 2004 through 2016.  Nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced into the United States during this time.

DHEC in the News: Recycling e-waste, a new emergency department, preventing Hepatitis C

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Keep Aiken Green: Know how to recycle e-waste in Aiken County

After birthdays and holidays, once new televisions, new PS4s, new Xbox Ones, new computers, new sound systems and more settle in, the old ones tend to be done away with.

But where those unwanted electronics actually go, according to the state health and environment department, is of utmost importance.

 Bluffton residents will soon have a shorter drive to an emergency room

In response to the Hardeeville area’s budding population, Coastal Carolina Hospital is moving forward with a plan to build a $15 million freestanding emergency department.

The proposed 10,000-square-foot facility will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and will feature 12 private treatment areas, including one trauma treatment room.

General Interest

CDC says addiction treatment, syringe service programs are key in preventing spread of Hep C

During an infectious disease prevention webcast Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the key to preventing the spread of hepatitis C is greater access to prevention services.

The CDC said access to safe injection equipment and treatment for drug addiction can lower transmission risks by more than 70 percent.

DHEC Encourages Disposal of Unused Prescription Drugs through Take-Back Programs

Saturday, October 28, marks the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. You can drop off unused prescription drugs at participating collection sites between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.

Held twice a year, this national observance aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs, while educating the public about the potential for abuse of medication.

In South Carolina, 102 prescriptions for painkillers are now written for every 100 residentsIn 2015, there were 570 accidental prescription drug overdose deaths in the state.

To help address this problem, DHEC is working with health care providers and pharmacists across the state to identify and stop prescription drug abuse. DHEC’s Bureau of Drug Control is charged with administering the South Carolina prescription monitoring program.  The centralized database, known as the South Carolina Reporting and Identification Prescription Tracking System (SCRIPTS), allows authorized users access to controlled substance dispensing data, helping to make it easier for South Carolina doctors and pharmacists to identify and report potential prescription drug abuse.

The intent of the database is to improve the state’s ability to identify and stop the diversion of prescription drugs in an efficient and cost-effective manner while not hindering the appropriate medical use of controlled substances where there is a valid prescriber-patient or pharmacist-patient relationship.

Make use of take-back programs

DHEC encourages the disposal of unused household medications through take-back programs, as well as drop-off collection boxes, as a way to effectively serve and protect the citizens of South Carolina.

The take-back programs help reduce childhood overdoses, restrict household drug theft, Medicines (2)limit the accumulation of drugs by the elderly, protect our physical environment, reduce pharmaceutical contamination of fresh water, and eliminate waste.

Also, research indicates that patients often do not take prescribed medications as directed, if at all. Thus, many unused medications are diverted, abused, and misused and could potentially lead to a major cause of accidental poisonings and arrests. The South Carolina law enforcement community has seen arrest rates for prescription drug-related offenses rise in the past several years.

Helping to protect our environment

In addition, after being flushed or poured down a drain, many medicines pass through sewer and septic systems. Because these systems cannot always treat or remove the medicines, they may end up in streams, lakes and groundwater. This can cause adverse effects in fish and other aquatic wildlife as well as unintentional human exposure to chemicals in the medications.

Keeping prescription and over-the-counter medicines out of the environment is an important way to prevent pollution. Drug disposal programs and events like drug take-back days provide a safe alternative to disposing unwanted or old medications.

Find out where to go 

To locate a collection site nearest you, click here.

DHEC in the News: Opioid summit, viral meningitis, beach restoration

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

S.C. governor schedules summit on opioid crisis

COLUMBIA – As part of the state’s response to issues related to prescription opioids and heroin in South Carolina, the 2017 S.C. Governor’s Opioid Summit will be held Sept. 6-7 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

Sponsored by the S.C. Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, the summit will be a statewide response to the opioid epidemic, bringing together healthcare professionals, state and local agencies, concerned citizens and law enforcement to collaborate on solutions.

Student has viral meningitis says Union Co. Schools

UNION Co., S.C. (WSPA) – School officials say one Union County student has been diagnosed with viral meningitis.

Union County Schools confirmed the child attends Buffalo Elementary School.

Officials say the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has been notified and areas where the child was at school have been deep cleaned.

School officials say they were told that the school is safe for other children since it is not bacterial meningitis, which can cause serious complications and be deadly.

Meningitis is an inflammation of tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord.

General Interest

Isle of Palms to dredge more than 75,000 dump trucks of sand to restore Wild Dunes beach

ISLE OF PALMS — Erosion-plagued Wild Dunes will get another shot of sand in the fall aimed at stabilizing a resort beach where a history of lost shoreline has included golf course damage and ocean water swirling under condos.

Officials hope the latest effort at restoring the shore will be underway in October and completed in a little more than two months.