Eastside Medical Center
October 16, 2020

Eastside Medical Center announced today that it is hosting an opioid take back event to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and proper disposal of medications on Saturday, October 24, 2020. Called “Crush the Crisis,” the event aligns with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and invites community members to safely and anonymously dispose of unused or expired prescription medications.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 2 million people in the U.S. suffered from an opioid use disorder and more than 67,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2018. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the U.S. is seeing an increase in opioid usage, with 40 states reporting increases in opioid-related mortality, according to the American Medical Association (AMA). According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017, there were 1,014 overdose deaths involving opioids in Georgia—a rate of 9.7 deaths per 100,000 Georgians.

“Stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic may be exacerbating the opioid crisis by causing many Americans to have feelings of anxiety, grief, isolation, financial worry, and an ongoing sense of uncertainty, affecting those with substance use disorders as well as those at risk of developing one,” said Dr. Stephen Higgins, chief medical officer of Eastside Medical Center. “Now it is more important than ever to get unused pain medications out of homes and to educate the community about the serious threat of opioid misuse.”

Law enforcement officers from the Snellville Police Department will be collecting tablets, capsules and patches of Hydrocodone (Norco, Lortab, Vicodin), Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), Tramadol (Ultram), Codeine, Fentanyl (Duragesic), Morphine, Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and Oxymorphone (Opana). Needles, syringes, lancets or liquids will not be accepted. COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place at the event, including universal masking, social distancing, removal of high-touch items and a drive-thru collection option.

Eastside Medical Center is participating as part of HCA Healthcare’s second annual national “Crush the Crisis” opioid take back day. In fall 2019, 100 HCA Healthcare facilities in 16 states collected 5,887 pounds of unused and expired medications at nationwide “Crush the Crisis” events.

To further help combat the nation’s opioid crisis, HCA Healthcare, the parent company of Eastside Medical Center, proudly partners with and provides clinical insight to the National Academy of Medicine's (NAM) Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. HCA Healthcare has committed $500,000 to the Collaborative to support the development of safer pain management protocols and reversal of the opioid crisis.

As a learning health system, HCA Healthcare uses data from approximately 35 million annual patient encounters to help continuously improve care. The organization uses the science of “big data” to reduce opioid misuse and transform pain management, with initiatives in surgical, emergency and other care settings, including:

  • Enhanced Surgical Recovery (ESR): a multi-modal approach to pain management using pre, intra and post-operative interventions to optimize outcomes. HCA Healthcare’s ESR programs have demonstrated significant improvements in surgical recovery and patient satisfaction and, importantly, up to a 50.8% decrease in opioid use in data collected from 124,000 major abdominal, joint, gynecologic oncology, spinal and bariatric surgeries from January 2018 - August 2020.
  • ALTernatives to Opioids in the Emergency Room (ALTO in the ER): a multi-modal approach to acute pain management, which focuses on alternative medication to hit various pain receptors as a first line treatment for common painful conditions. Initial results of ALTO pilot programs demonstrate a 36% reduction in opioid administrations.
  • Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS): aims to stem increasing rates of opioid-related addiction, misuse diversion and death by making it more difficult for medication-seekers to doctor-shop and alter prescriptions. Physicians have access to aggregated electronic health record (EHR) providing data that will allow them to prescribe opioids judiciously.

“Crush the Crisis” will take place at Eastside Medical Center’s main campus hospital at 1700 Medical Way in Snellville. For more information, visit HCAHealthcare.com/crushthecrisis or call toll free number at (833) 582-1970.

tags: covid-19