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We are now going to look at safe disposal of medication. It's important to remember that medication has a shelf life. Whenever you administer your medication, you must always check that it's still in date. Never transfer medication between service users. So, if one of your service users has run out of their prescribed medication, do not give somebody else's, even if it's the same medication, same dose. All used and out of date medication must be disposed of in line with your in-house policy. Usually, this is in a yellow bag but follow your own guidelines. The Waste and Environmental Protection Act 1990 makes it illegal to dispose of medication into the general sewage system, which means you're not allowed to flush it down the toilet or put it down the sink. In the case of a death of a service user, all medication must be kept for seven days, this is in case of a post-mortem. It may be that there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the death, so audits would need to be carried out and the medication that was left would be checked against the medication that should've been administered.

This is where record-keeping is paramount. Always record medication given, medication refused, make sure it's documented and signed. Often, your workplace will have an agreement with the pharmacist that they will collect any unused or out of date medication. Any controlled drugs which need to be sent back will have to be recorded. These will be signed as left your workplace and then will have to be signed in at the pharmacy. This is to ensure the paper trail. Alternatively, some medications can be collected by a specific waste management supplier. To summarize, we need to stress the importance of disposing of the medication correctly. Any unused or out of date medication needs to be stored appropriately in the locked cupboard until such time as it is disposed of correctly. The potential misuse of unused or out of date medications is massive. There could be legal implications to yourself and to the home if these medications be used inappropriately.