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St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea begins drug takeback program

Caption: (From left to right) Jennifer Rodriquez, PharmD, inpatient pharmacy manager and Nancy Graebner, president and CEO, stand in front of St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea’s new green receptacle, located in the main lobby of the hospital. The receptacle is part of a Drug Takeback Program that allows local residents to easily and anonymously dispose of unused medications.

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Bobby Maldonado for the photo and information in this story.)

St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea has placed a large green receptacle in its lobby for the easy and anonymous disposal of unused and out-of-date prescription and over-the counter medications, including pet medications. 

The receptacle, part of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System’s medication take-back program in southeast Michigan, is intended to reduce the risk of accessible drugs in the home that can potentially harm children, teens or adults.

“As one of the community’s most-trusted institutions, our hospital offers local residents a safe and accessible location to dispose of unneeded medications,” said Nancy Graebner, president and CEO St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.  “Substance Use Disorder is a threat to local families and to our community.  I encourage everyone to use this new resource so that we can reduce the risk of medications being used improperly.”

The large green receptacle is currently located in the main lobby inside St. Joe’s, located at 775 S Main St. Not accepted through the drug take-back program are illegal drugs, inhalers, lotions/liquids, aerosol cans, thermometers, needles, and hydrogen peroxide.

Unused medications in the home are a source of drug abuse in millions of homes, with the opioid crisis in the United States fueled in part by that availability: More than 83 percent of opioid prescription medications taken by new users are obtained from a friend, relative or others.  Overall, 130 Americans die every day from a drug overdose.

The drug takeback program is in the process of being implemented at all five Saint Joseph Mercy Health System hospitals, located in Chelsea, Howell, Livonia, Pontiac and Ypsilanti. It is another element of the health system’s efforts to reduce opioid use in southeast Michigan.

Other initiatives include the creation of a Substance Use Disorder multi-disciplinary task force which provides clinician education, screening tools, 24/7 addiction medicine consult availability, guidelines for medication-assisted treatment and caring for IV drug users, multi-modal pain therapy and post-recovery exit strategy for opioid use.

In addition, the DisposeRX kit is available at no cost with opioid prescriptions filled at the retail pharmacies inside each of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System’s hospitals. The DisposeRX solution renders the medication useless and allows it to be discarded in the trash in an environmentally safe manner.

St. Joe’s partnered with Inmar to manage this drug takeback program.  The company has a long history as the industry leader in handling prescription and over-the-counter drug returns safely, securely and discreetly for major and regional chain drug stores as well as independent pharmacies and hospitals across the United States.

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