Date: July 17, 2019

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Fentanyl Patch Return Program

This page was reviewed or revised on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 1:15 PM

 Lambton Public Health's Health Indicator Summary (August 2015) identified opioid misuse as a serious public health problem in Lambton County.

The report found there was an increase in opioid toxicity deaths in the most recent five years in Lambton County, with a particularly high number of deaths recorded in 2013. In 2013, five of the 11 deaths were due to fentanyl toxicity.

The diversion of fentanyl patches has been linked to a rising number of overdose deaths in Ontario. Between, 2009-2013, 549 deaths have been associated with fentanyl in Ontario. 

To address this issue, Lambton Public Health, Sarnia Police, Lambton OPP and local health-care providers have implemented a pharmacy-based Fentanyl Patch Return Program, similar to other highly successful programs across Ontario.

Health-care providers, pharmacists and patients all have a role to play in addressing the issue of opioid and other substance misuse in our community.

Under the Fentanyl Patch Return Program, also known as Patch4Patch (P4P), individuals who use fentanyl are required to return used patches to their pharmacists using the Fentanyl Patch Return disposal tool before being dispensed the next set of patches. This practice discourages diversion of used patches from which the remaining drug is "harvested" for illicit use.

Using a “one in, one out" model, the Fentanyl Patch Return Program will:

  • Reduce diversion ensuring responsible use
  • Improve patient safety
  • Reduce risks to patient, family, community
  • Reduce the likelihood of fentanyl patch diversion
  • Improve environmental safety through proper disposal

Success of the program requires collaboration among the prescriber, the pharmacist, and the patient. Physicians and other prescribers are asked to discuss this practice with all patients who receive a prescription for fentanyl and to also direct pharmacists to collect used patches through an indication on the prescription.

No more than a one-month supply of fentanyl patches should be prescribed or dispensed at a time to patients with fentanyl prescriptions.

When dispensing the patient’s fentanyl prescription, pharmacists provide the patient with the Fentanyl Patch Return disposal tool along with their fentanyl patches. At the next visit, the pharmacists collects the used patches as indicated on the prescription, ensure they are accounted for, and then dispose of them appropriately.


All information can be downloaded.

Public /Patients

Pharmacists / Physicians