Doing our part to protect our community

January 30, 2019 | by Mary Lou Mastro

We’ve all heard a lot about opioids in the last few years.

The more we learn, the more frightening this epidemic becomes.

In DuPage County in 2018, 17 people died from opioid-based prescription medication, according to the DuPage County Coroner.

As part of our Opioid Task Force initiative, we want to offer some help to reduce that number that goes beyond our medical care. Through our new Medication Take-Back program, we provide secure kiosks where community members can drop off unwanted or expired controlled medications.

Anyone may bring their unwanted, unused or expired controlled medications to one of our disposal bins, just like dropping a letter in the mailbox, 24/7/365. The collection kiosk at Edward Hospital is located near the hallway between the south parking garage and south lobby and at Elmhurst Hospital in the vestibule of Door 28 near the Emergency Department.

Restricted items for the program include needles/syringes, liquids, aerosols, inhalers, thermometers and illegal drugs.

Many thanks to the Edward and Elmhurst Medical Executive Committees for helping to fund this program. We hope to help our community protect their families and friends by providing an accessible, friendly and safe place to dispose of dangerous medications.

Safe disposal of prescription medication also protects the environment by reducing unwanted drug residue in water tables. Studies show that 46 million Americans in 24 major metropolitan areas have pharmaceutical chemicals and hormones in their drinking water.

Today 77 percent of opioid prescription medications taken by new users are obtained from a friend or relative, and 62 percent of teens who admit to taking drugs for non-medical reasons say they get them from medicine cabinets in their homes.

Our prevention efforts are in addition to our focus on providing the best treatment options for opioid addiction.

Through our Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT) Clinic, Linden Oaks Behavioral Health provides medication that suppresses withdrawal symptoms and stifles cravings for the opioid drug. That, combined with therapy to address the underlying trigger for the drug use, has been successful in helping people get their lives back from opioids.

Please make use of our secure medication drop-off kiosks and spread the word that they’re available. The more unused prescription medication we can collect, the better.

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