• Bassett's Drug Take-Back Efforts Paying Off

    Bassett Healthcare Network

    May 8, 2018

    Bassett Healthcare Network is encouraging individuals to spring clean their medicine cabinets and get rid of unnecessary medications and people are overwhelmingly supporting the effort. Earlier this year, Bassett Medical Center, O'Connor Hospital and FoxCare Pharmacy introduced a drug take-back program in their outpatient pharmacies and installed drug-take back kiosks for people to dispose of unused medications free of charge. Activity increased around two significant dates, April 22 (Earth Day) and April 28 (National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day).

    Michele Taurisano, RPh, manager, outpatient pharmacy, Bassett Medical Center, says that they have replaced their fourth liner from the medication disposal kiosk [each liner holds about 35 pounds], which is about 140 pounds of unwanted medication removed from households in the community in the last 10 weeks. According to Erin Kingsbury, PharmD, O'Connor Hospital, three liners have been filled there; this totals more than 100 pounds of unused medication that's been safely disposed of. Peg Karl, RPh, FoxCare Pharmacy, notes that since the beginning of the program five boxes have been filled; that's 175 pounds of unwanted medication.

    "The disposal kiosks and mail-back envelopes are a free, safe and secure way of getting rid of unneeded medications," says Patrick M. Mongillo, network director of pharmacy operations. "Removing leftover prescription drugs from homes is important in preventing medication misuse."

    Additionally, Dave DeSando, RPh, director of pharmacy at Cobleskill Regional Hospital, spearheaded a program three years ago partnering with Norine Hodges of Schoharie County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (SCCASA) and Rich Bialkowski, Cobleskill police chief, to provide permanent drug drop-off boxes at the Cobleskill village police station and sheriff’s office in Schoharie. “More than 1,000 pounds of unusable or outdated medications have been collected from the public so far and it has been a huge success,” says DeSando. “A needle drop-off box has recently been added outside the building of the Cobleskill village police for anyone who wants to discard used needles and syringes.”

    Bassett Healthcare Network offers three locations for individuals to drop off unwanted, expired, or leftover medications via collection kiosks and pre-paid mail-back envelopes at the Bassett Medical Center Pharmacy in Cooperstown, FoxCare Pharmacy in Oneonta and O'Connor Hospital Pharmacy in Delhi. According to the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, a national survey on drug use and health in 2015 showed that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.