Medical Center, Medicap partner to offer MedSafe

Greene County Medical Center has joined with Medicap Pharmacy in Jefferson to obtain a MedSafe container. This secure receptacle allows people to drop off and safely dispose of expired, unused or unwanted medications.

The medical center’s pharmacy director, Bonnie Orris, is overseeing the MedSafe project. She said, “I have wanted to provide this service for years. Patients and families have long looked to pharmacists to deal with prescription disposal. Until now, we did not have a consistent way to dispose of unwanted or expired medications.”

The MedSafe project became a reality after a conversation about the safe disposal of expired medications occurred between Orris and Bill Monroe, Medicap Pharmacy owner and pharmacist. The annual cost for the container will be shared by Greene County Medical Center and Medicap.

The new MedSafe is located in the main lobby of Greene County Medical Center and is accessible to the public for medication drop-offs year-round. The container is designed to accept prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as sample medications, prescription ointments and patches, vitamins and pet medications. It is not for the disposal of aerosol cans, needles (sharps) or non-prescription ointments, lotions or liquids.

CEO Carl Behne noted that, “part of the medical center’s mission is to contribute to the well-being of every family. This MedSafe does that by offering an answer to the often-asked question of what to do with expired or unused prescriptions.”

On average, 66 percent of the population does not know what to do with their unused or expired drugs. Most either toss them in the garbage or flush them down the toilet — both potentially threatening the safety of others and our environment.

Besides protecting our environment, the MedSafe is designed to combat prescription drug abuse by keeping medications off the street. According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, 70 percent of people who abuse or misuse prescription painkillers get them from a friend or relative — sometimes by stealing them.

Orris has registered the medical center pharmacy as a collection site with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Unused medicines must be placed in the container by the person wanting to dispose of them. Medical center staff are not allowed to handle or accept medication.

Questions about the MedSafe program may be directed to Bonnie Orris, RPh, at Greene County Medical Center, 515-386-0174 or by email at bonnie.orris [at] gcmchealth [dot] com.

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