Intermountain Drop Boxes Yields a Large Return of Unused Medications

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The pharmacy drop boxes were installed in February 2015 as part of the Use Only As Directed campaign, a partnership between Intermountain and the State of Utah as well as other healthcare entities. Anyone can place any unused medications into the bins which are then safely destroyed. Intermountain has also pledged $300,000 each year for a three year span to the Use Only As Directed campaign which is a collaboration of federal, state, city, and county entities.

“Medications are powerful substances. They are great, they have the power to heal. But they also have the power to hurt,” said Buck Stanford, Intermountain director of pharmacy operations.

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Buck Stanford, Intermountain's director of pharmacy operations, speaks to
news agencies about the success of the program on Aug. 17, 2016 at the
Intermountain Salt Lake Clinic.

Opioid abuse has become a major health concern. Public health officials listed that on average 24 Utah adults died per month in 2014 from accidental opioid overdoses. Also, 74 percent of Utah adults said they received medication from a family member of friend.

“Getting those medications out of the cupboard, away from those who would potentially be harmed by those is the most important thing,” Stanford said.

RELATED: The Signs and Causes of Prescription Drug Abuse

Intermountain also focused on patient education to help increase safe use. Labels are placed on packaging and handouts that instruct finishing the medications, instructions about keeping it out of harm’s way of others and safe disposal, and pharmacists wear lapel pins that remind patients not to share medications.

A full list of drop boxes across the state can be found at useonlyasdirected.org.