Businesses and organizations that routinely dispose of potentially dangerous medications and drugs have a duty to prioritize safety when doing so. If organizations fail to dispose of these materials properly, they could enter the water supply or otherwise result in the public consuming or being exposed to hazardous quantities of harmful drugs.

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Unfortunately, sometimes, companies are negligent when disposing of medications. Victims may be harmed as a result of their negligence.

Improper Drug Disposal: Important Data to Consider

The dangers of consuming medications and drugs unknowingly can’t be overstated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 27,000 Americans died as a result of accidental drug overdoses in a single year.

Research also indicates that measurable levels of prescription drugs can be found in approximately 80% of monitored streams throughout the country. Thus, it’s possible that at least some deaths involving accidental overdoses may have been the result of exposure to drugs that were improperly disposed of.

What Does Proper Dangerous Drug Disposal Involve?

The specific manner in which an organization should dispose of a medication or drug can vary on a case-by-case basis. It’s vital that those involved in the disposal of these materials conduct thorough research to ensure they’re familiar with the ideal disposal methods for every medication and drug they handle.

In general, though, safe disposal of harmful drugs may involve:

Establishing an official policy for drug disposal that is based on recommendations or guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other such regulatory agencies.

Thoroughly training all those who may be involved in drug disposal. Be aware, just because someone has participated in a training session in the past, that doesn’t mean they remember everything they learned. To optimize safety, it may be wise to require employees to repeat these training sessions every year or two years. This may also be necessary if changes to the applicable regulations require modifying corporate policies for safe drug disposal.

Researching authorized drug buy-back programs and participating in them when this is an option. In some instances, both individuals and organizations may provide their unused drugs to those who have the qualifications necessary to dispose of them in safe and environmentally-friendly ways.

When drug buy-back programs are not an option, a company may coordinate with local waste disposal businesses that specialize in safe disposal of prescription drugs.

Ideally, individual companies wouldn’t approach this issue alone. Instead, multiple companies within a given industry would partner together to develop strong drug disposal policies. These joint efforts could optimize safety for everyone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 27,000 Americans died as a result of accidental drug overdoses in a single year.

Taking Legal Action When Drugs Are Disposed of Improperly

When organizations don’t take necessary safety measures, disposing of medications improperly, others may be exposed to these drugs in their drinking water or through other such means.

This can result in significant health problems. Depending on the individual who was exposed to the drug, the specific nature of the drug itself, and the quantity of the drug to which they were exposed, a victim might even lose their life as a result of a negligent company’s unsafe drug disposal methods.

A person who experiences health problems after consuming or being exposed to a dangerous drug that a company disposed of improperly may be eligible to receive compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and other such losses resulting from their exposure to a harmful drug. If someone dies after consuming or being exposed to a medication due to improper disposal, their surviving loved ones may be able to seek financial compensation for such losses as funeral expenses, loss of the deceased’s income, etc.

Seeking compensation in these circumstances will usually involve filing a claim with the insurance of the company that failed to dispose of dangerous drugs safely. However, before they can file a claim, a victim must first identify the negligent party and gather evidence indicating they disposed of drugs improperly, and that by doing so, they caused the victim to be harmed.

Gathering such evidence may require conducting a thorough investigation. This is one reason it’s often wise for victims to enlist the help of attorneys.

At Swartz & Swartz, P.C., our Boston personal injury lawyers are prepared to investigate a case on your behalf. If it appears you have a valid case, we’ll also leverage our years of expertise to offer the representation you deserve when facing off against a large company with the resources to protect itself. If you think you or  a loved one have been harmed because a business carelessly disposed of harmful drugs, learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at (617) 742-1900 to schedule your free consultation.

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If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.

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About the Author: James Swartz
Mr. Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.

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