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Addicts target nursing home dumpsters to get a fix

November 21, 2014
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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Drug addicts in Cherokee County, Georgia, are climbing into trash bins behind nursing homes and other care facilities looking for discarded time-released pain-relieving skin patches called fentanyl, a drug 80 times stronger than morphine prescribed for cancer patients, according to an investigative report.

“We’ve seen [the patches] eaten, we’ve seen them put on the body. We’ve had overdoses because you can’t tell how much fentanyl is left when you get them out of the dumpster,” Commander Phil Price of the Cherokee County Multiagency Narcotics Squad told WSBTV investigator Tom Regan.

In September, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced that facilities could become designated drop-off points to collect controlled substances. And just last month, the DEA issued a letter to healthcare providers explaining how to properly dispose of unused pharmaceutical waste.

Proper disposal of dangerous medication is the key to keeping the lid on dumpster diving.