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Physician Resource

Poison Prevention Week Tip: Help Your Patients Dispose of Drugs Properly

As you know, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S. Also likely no surprise: many of the drugs that cause death and other serious harm are not street drugs, but are prescription medications, namely opioids, that are taken inappropriately or fall into the wrong hands.

Helping to make sure prescribed medications don’t end up in the wrong hands due to careless or improper disposal is something immediate that each of us can do to help change the trajectory. “We know that if medications are disposed of properly, they are out of the hands of those who can be harmed by them. They’re out of reach of kids and pets. They’re not a threat to the environment. And they’re not accessible to those who may abuse or misuse them,” says UVA Health System Pharmacy Supervisor Justin Vesser, PharmD.

UVA has made safe drug disposal a priority, installing a bright green drug take-back box in the main lobby of the Education Resource Center. This will make it easy for patients to eliminate unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs from their medicine cabinets. “Now that we have a 24-hour pharmacy, we are happy to provide this service to the community,” says Vesser.

In recognition of National Poison Prevention Week, we ask that you share the following information with your patients about the drug take-back program at UVA:

  • Take-back boxes are located in the UVA Pharmacy Lee Street at 1240 Lee Street and in the pharmacy at UVA Medical Park Zion Crossroads located at 1015 Spring Creek Parkway in Gordonsville.
  • The boxes within UVA Pharmacy Lee Street are easily accessible 24/7. The box at Zion Crossroads is accessible Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Anyone can deposit medications discreetly, no questions asked.
  • Over-the-counter or prescription medications are accepted.
  • Illegal substances and medical waste, such as needles and syringes, are not allowed.
  • Contents of the box are emptied regularly by authorized staff and sent to a reverse distributor for safe disposal.

Another important reminder: the Blue Ridge Poison Center at UVA is available to anyone, any time of the day or night, by calling 800.222.1222.

For more information on the drug take-back boxes, contact UVA Pharmacy at 434.924.9041.


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