Baptist Health Paducah collects unused medicine to help curb drug abuse

April 22, 2021

Any type of drug can be disposed of.

(Paducah, Ky.) April 22, 2021 — While law enforcement agencies are helping to collect unused prescription drugs on Saturday, April 24, during national Take Back Prescription Drugs Day, Baptist Health Paducah Retail Pharmacy does its part with a secure disposal container available year-round.

The pharmacy, located in Walker Medical Park 1, is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Any type of drug can be disposed, and Deterra bags, used for the disposal of controlled substances, are available.

“Proper disposal of prescription drugs is important because the misuse of prescription drugs often starts when a person has access to an unused supply at home,” said Laura Madison, pharmacy director at Baptist Health Paducah. “The Purchase District Opiate Task Force says our area has a high rate of drug arrests, and drug overdose deaths are substantially higher than the national average; as much as 2.5 times higher in some of our counties. Data from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy indicates the Purchase region has a higher than average rate of patients with opiate prescriptions, with most counties having 261 to 310 prescriptions per 1,000 population.”

The 20th Take Back Day is an effort backed by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to collect expired, unwanted and unused prescription medications.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs comes from family and friends, including those from home medicine cabinets, so clearing out unused medicine is essential.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 83,544 Americans overdosing during the 12-months ending July 1, 2020, the most ever recorded in a 12-month period. The increase in drug overdose deaths appeared to begin prior to the COVID-19 health emergency, but accelerated significantly during the first months of the pandemic.

Opioid stewardship

Baptist Health hospitals are working to fight the opioid epidemic through the Kentucky Statewide Opioid Stewardship Program, along with other hospitals and the Kentucky Hospital Association. In the program, hospitals are committed to reducing opioid overprescribing and improving safe opioid use.

Baptist Health’s efforts to stem opioid use include:

  • Pain control measures to reduce opioid use in surgery.
  • Baptist Health Paducah offers at-home medication disposal packets in the retail pharmacy.
  • Participating in drug round up or take back efforts. Each hospital retail pharmacy has a secure drug disposal container so people can drop off unused or expired medications year-round.