MedStar Health Hospitals Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Community Invited to Drop off Unwanted Prescriptions at Five MedStar Health Locations

October 21, 2019

(Columbia, MD) – MedStar Health hospitals are participating in a national effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration to help people dispose of unwanted prescription drugs and keep them from getting into the wrong hands.

MedStar_Union_Memorial_National_Prescription_Drug_Take_Back_Day_2019“We know from studies that when people abuse or overdose on prescription drugs, those medications were often acquired from either the home medicine cabinet, a friend or a family member,” says Bonnie Levin, PharmD, MBA, FASHP and Assistant Vice President of Pharmacy Services for MedStar Health. “We hope this effort will help to address the opioid crisis which is a serious public health challenge in our communities.”

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday October 26.

MedStar Health drop off locations include MedStar Washington Hospital Center, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital.

“People are invited to stop by and drop their unwanted prescription drugs in one of our DEA-approved receptacles.  They can do this safely and anonymously,” says Levin. “If this event prevents even one person from becoming addicted or one overdose in our community we will consider this a great success.”

This effort coincides with National Pharmacy Week October 21-25. Levin says National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is supported by pharmacists from around the MedStar Health system.  A MedStar pharmacist may be available at the take-back unit to talk with you about your medications.

“MedStar Health is strongly dedicated to patient safety. As pharmacy professionals we understand the seriousness and tragic consequences of opioid abuse and we’re committed to doing everything we can to raise awareness and prevent it from happening in our communities,” says Levin.  

Unwanted drugs could be stored in the medicine cabinets of surgical patients who were prescribed opioids for pain, cancer patients as well as families who recently lost a loved one who was prescribed pain medications.  

In addition to being an important patient safety issue, there are environmental benefits to the proper disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medications, which people often flush down the toilet.

“We know that small doses of certain medications are getting into our water supply, which because it’s a closed system, can never fully rid itself of these trace amounts,” says Levin. 

According to the DEA, Take Back Day in April 2019 resulted in the collection of more than 937,000 thousand pounds or almost 469 tons of unwanted prescription drugs at locations across the U.S.

Receptacles at all the above MedStar Health locations are available year-round.  To find the DEA drop-off collection location closest to you, please visit the DEA website which provides a site locator by zip code.  


Media Contact

Marianne Worley
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Brendan McNamara
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