Residents of Ontario, Bucyrus, and the surrounding communities now have additional locations to drop off unused, unwanted, or expired prescription drugs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Through a partnership with the METRICH Enforcement Unit, Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, and the Ontario Police Department, secure drug collection receptacles have been placed in the main lobbies of Avita Ontario Hospital and Bucyrus Community Hospital.
“Thanks to this partnership, patients will now be able to safely dispose of unwanted medications all year round,” explains Christina Barnes, Director of Pharmacy for Avita Health System. “After seeing the success of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, we knew that we wanted to make it possible for patients to dispose of unwanted medications any day, any time, and at a location that is convenient for them.”
According to the Ohio Department of Health, unintentional drug overdoses caused the deaths of 4,050 Ohio residents in 2016. Drug collection receptacles are an essential component to help reduce unintentional and intentional prescription access and deaths due to opioid overdosing.
“By partnering with local law enforcement, Avita is the only 24-hour healthcare system in the region actively engaged in the proper disposal and take back of prescription medication,” reveals Christian Nygaard, Pharmacy Operations Manager at Avita. “We have an opportunity to prevent diversion of prescriptions medications, which has the potential to save lives.”
Avita’s drug collection receptacles were purchased with funds donated by METRICH Enforcement Unit on behalf of METRICH Project Director Chief Ken Coontz, and in collaboration with local law enforcement. “The METRICH ten-county task force is proud to have Crawford County Sheriff Scott Kent and Ontario Police Chief Tommy Hill as part of our leadership team,” comments Chief Coontz. “They understand the importance of collaborating with the community and Avita Health System to make our neighborhoods safer.”
The drug collection receptacle at each hospital is secured to a permanent structure and placed in a publicly accessible space that is regularly monitored by employees. The pharmacy department manages oversight and maintenance of the receptacle and is responsible for removing and shipping the receptacle liner for proper disposal and destruction of its contents.
“Keeping unwanted prescriptions drugs out of medicine cabinets and providing the community with the ability to properly dispose of these medications makes our communities safer,” explains Barnes. “Not only are we keeping medications from ending up in the wrong hands, but we are also helping families reduce the risk of medication errors and mix ups that can occur when patients hold on to old medications. When unwanted medications are removed from the home, patients are less likely to confuse old medications with new ones. Medication errors from mix ups like these are not uncommon and can lead to significant patient harm and hospitalization. By providing this service, we are hoping to prevent these accidents from happening.”