Northwest Health installs bins for safe disposal of medication

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MedSafe bins have been installed at four Northwest Health Services pharmacies for safe disposal of unused medications. Photo by Sarah Thomack.

by Sarah Thomack/St. Joseph Post staff

If residents aren’t sure how to safely dispose of unwanted medications or missed the prescription take back events, there’s now another place to safely dispose of medications.

Northwest Health Services Director of Pharmacy Miranda Phillips says four MedSafe bins have been installed in their St. Joseph, Hamilton and Gower pharmacy locations.

Phillips tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline that residents can dispose of any medications, including controlled medications. 

“Which is huge because we want to make sure and help the community get those out of, if they’re not using it, get it out of their hands and get it disposed of properly to deter abuse or accidental overdose, all those things.”

Phillips says there are a lot safety and health reasons why medications should be disposed of through a take back event or brought to a MedSafe bin rather than trying to flush it down the toilet or dispose of it on your own.

“Flushing it, we have found it gets in our water system and it’s very hard to get out,” Phillips says. “So this is just another way to help with the environment too so we don’t have this stuff in our water system.”

Phillips says she believes safe disposal opportunities such as the MedSafe bins could have an effect on the opioid epidemic.

“Many times, they’ve found that the number one way people get a hold of opioids and abuse them is a friend, a relative, they’re in someone’s house, and that medication that a lot of us have sitting there just because we haven’t known what to do with it… is taken and abused,” Phillips says. “So I think, definitely, getting rid of it, getting it out of the community so that it’s not sitting in houses will definitely help with that and that is another reason we wanted this just to make it more accessible. A lot of times there’s bins or drug take back programs but not everybody can get to those… we just wanted to try and give the convenience to the patients because in pharmacy we get asked that all the time – what do I do with these medications I don’t want anymore?”

MedSafe bins have been installed at Family Medicine Pharmacy and North End Family Pharmacy in St. Joseph, Northwest Pharmacy Services in Hamilton and Gower Family Pharmacy.

MedSafe bins have been installed at Northwest Health Services pharmacies for safe disposal of unused medications. Photo by Sarah Thomack.
MedSafe bins have been installed at Northwest Health Services pharmacies for safe disposal of unused medications. Photo by Sarah Thomack.