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ThedaCare implements Medication Take-Back Boxes

Since 2005, the rate of opioid use disorder has more than tripled, according to data provided by the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. Recently, ThedaCare launched the opioid awareness campaign developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “It only takes a little to lose a lot”.

“ThedaCare is committed to combatting the opioid epi-demic in Northeast and Central Wisconsin communities,” said Dr. Jennifer Frank, Chief Medical Officer of the ThedaCare Clinically Integrated Network. “We want to help those in our care understand how to use opioids safely.”

The public will see different forms of campaign presence, including bill-boards, social media and public service announcements across the nine county service area. The next phase of the opioid campaign includes the implementation of medication take-back boxes throughout the ThedaCare system.

“If a patient is prescribed an opioid, they should take and dispose of medications properly,” explained Dr. Frank. “Unused prescription medications in homes are a concern, because they can be accidentally ingested, stolen, and abused.”

Unused or expired medicine should never be flushed or poured down the drain. Medicine take-back options are the best way to safely dispose of most types of medicines.

ThedaCare now offers convenient and secure disposal options, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for communities to dispose of unused medications in the following locations: ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton, ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin, The-daCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah, ThedaCare Medical Center-New Lon-don, ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca, and ThedaCare Cancer Care-Oshkosh.

Those who are dropping off medication will find signage directing to the drop box at each specific location. In 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) implemented the Responsible Drug Act of 2010, which provides a pathway for DEA registered locations to seek designation as an authorized collector of unwanted and unused medications.

The DEA’s goal in extending authorization is to reduce prescription drug abuse by increasing the options for the public to responsibly and securely dispose of their medications. The act establishes regulations that outline how the take back program is to be implemented and managed. The boxes will be securely installed and continually monitored to ensure safety and security.

The following items are accepted items for disposal: Expired, unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications; medicated ointments; non-aerosol sprays.

The following are not accepted for disposal: Needles/lancets/syringes; thermometers; IV bags; Diabetes test kits; personal care products (shampoo, lotion, etc.); inhalers; and liquids.

ThedaCare is one of the few healthcare organizations in Northeast and Central Wisconsin which have permanent take back boxes located in their hospitals.

“We want all community members, even if they are not ThedaCare patients, to have access to safe disposal options,” said Dr. Frank. “This is part of our responsibility to help find solutions to issues we are facing as a community.”

In addition to the take-back boxes at ThedaCare, permanent drop boxes are often found in police stations, select hospital systems and retail pharmacies.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, please contact a treatment service such as the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline through 2-1-1 or ThedaCare Behavioral Health. A list of services and contact information can be found by visiting the ThedaCare opioid resource page.

The medication take-back boxes were made possible through the generosity of donors of the following ThedaCare Family of Foundations communities: Appleton, Berlin, New London, Shawano and Waupaca. To help support continued financial needs, you can make a gift online at thedacare.org/donate or send contributions to ThedaCare Family of Foundations, 1818 N. Meade Street, Appleton, WI 54911.