SANTA CLARA — How do you get rid of old expired or unneeded drugs? Flush them down the toilet? In the garbage? Those should not even enter your mind. There is now a safe and easy way to get them out of your house without risk of any contamination in Santa Clara.
According to a press release from Intermountain Healthcare, Fusion Pharmacy has joined the ranks of concerned community businesses taking steps to help curb the opioid epidemic in Utah. With a donation of $5,000 from Intermountain Healthcare that covers the installation and first three years of operational costs, Fusion Pharmacy now has a prescription drop box inside its Santa Clara location. The drop box provides a place for residents to safely dispose of unused or expired medication free of charge and is open for use during regular business hours. The partnership was fostered by the Washington County Prevention Coalition which facilitated the relationship to make the community project possible.
Overdose deaths caused by opioids have been labeled a “national epidemic” by the U.S. Surgeon General and Utah currently has an overdose rate higher than the national average. The drug poisoning death rate per 100,000 people is 12.5 people nationally, and 21.7 in Utah, which is consistent with local overdose rates. Currently, drug poisoning is the leading cause of accidental death in Utah and Washington County.
“Intermountain is appreciative of great community partners like Fusion Pharmacy and the Prevention Coalition who are willing to step up and make significant changes in our community,” Amber Rich, community health coordinator at Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center, said. “The reality is that more people die from overdose of prescription medication than all other illicit drugs combined in our state. This drop box’s main purpose is to help make our homes and families safer.”
Rich charged people to take more personal responsibility about what they keep in their medicine cabinets and what they put in their bodies.
“The vast majority of people who are addicted to opioids get them from a family or friend. If it’s in your house, keep it locked up, and when you’re done, put it in drop box!”
Fusion Pharmacy’s Travis Snow said he looks forward to the conversations he hopes the drop box will generate.
“I feel like it’s valuable to have drop box in every community, and particularly in a pharmacy because it gives us an opportunity to educate the community about other options for pain control.”
The Center for Disease Control reported that three out of four people who used heroin in the past year took prescription opioids first, and after taking opioids for just five days, a person is more likely to take the medication long term. The irony is that opioids only provide an average of 20-30 percent pain relief when used for pain lasting even less than three months. Because the body adapts to opioids so quickly, tolerance and dependency are biological responses that can happen within a week of taking medication, even when taking the medication as prescribed. Research is consistently showing that opioids are often not as effective at treating chronic pain as some over- the-counter painkillers.
“We acknowledge that pain is individual and it’s not one pill fits all,” Snow said. “If we can effectively target chronic pain or inflammation with a different method, then it lessens a person’s resistance to giving up prescription opioids. Once they see it can work, it makes it far easier to give up the medications they’ve relied on for so many years.”
Teresa Willie, Washington County Prevention Coalition coordinator, said that drop boxes keep individuals as well as the environment safe.
“This new drop box is an important step in educating the community about the dangers of prescription medication and making drug disposal part of our everyday routine,” Willie said. “We strongly encourage people to use drop boxes, because flushing or throwing out these medications can have damaging effects on our soil and water supply.”
For a complete listing of drop box locations and additional information about safe use, click here.
Other drop box locations in Washington County
- Watson Dixie Pharmacy – Dixie Regional Medical Center
- 1380 E. Medical Center Drive, St. George
- Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Fusion Pharmacy
- 1100 N. Canyon View Drive, Santa Clara
- Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Stapley Pharmacy
- 102 E. City Center, St. George
- Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Stapley Pharmacy (inside Carter’s Market)
- 167 E. Main Street, Enterprise
- Hours: Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Hurricane Police Department
- 90 S. 700 West, Hurricane
- Hours: Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- St. George Police Department
- 265 N. 200 East, St. George
- Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Washington City Police Department
- 95 N. Main Street, Washington
- Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Washington County Sheriff’s Office
- 750 S. 5300 West, Hurricane
- Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Dixie State University Police
- 300 S. 800 East, St. George
- Hours: Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.