SVMC’s Celebrates Continued Growth in Collection of Unwanted Drugs
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/ Categories: NEWS, 2020, 01

SVMC’s Celebrates Continued Growth in Collection of Unwanted Drugs

BENNINGTON, VT—January 10, 2020—Every day is a prescription drug take-back day at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), where a drug take-back box in the lobby has allowed members of the public to anonymously dispose of 1,145 pounds of unwanted medications since its installation in July 2017.

Totals are growing each year: from 199 pounds in 2017 to 427 pounds in 2018 and 519 pounds in 2019.

“This is a good sign that more people are aware of the opportunity and interested in keeping potentially harmful drugs out of our communities and environments,” said Ginger Ritchie, who leads the project at SVMC.

The box looks like a mailbox, featuring a one-way medicine drop. It can be used to dispose of unused or expired controlled substances, non-controlled substances, and even over-the-counter medications. The specialized box is available to the public 24 hours each day. 

Several features ensure security, including a double-locked front panel. Medications can be removed for disposal only when both a member of the Bennington Police Department and a member of the hospital security staff are present. In addition, the box is monitored by video.

Disposing of unused and expired medications at a drug take-back location prevents the drugs from being abused or sold. In the past, people often flushed medications down a toilet or drain, which can cause pharmaceutical contamination of the water supply.

The program was made possible through The Collaborative; Regional Prevention Partnership, a grant from the Vermont Department of Health; and cooperation from the Bennington Police Department, notably Chief of Police Paul J. Doucette and Lieutenant David Dutcher.

The Collaborative has facilitated the installation of several other permanent take-back boxes in Bennington County. They are located at the Bennington Police Department; the Bennington Sheriff’s Department; the Manchester Police Department; The Pharmacy, Inc. in Bennington; The Pharmacy-Northshire in Manchester; and the Winhall Police Department.

About SVHC:
Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices. For more information, visit svhealthcare.org.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559.

About The Collaborative:
Since 1999, The Collaborative has served Bennington, western Windham, and southern Windsor Counties, including 18 towns and nine schools. The organization focuses on promoting healthy communities and substance-free youth through education, programming, environmental strategies, and policy development. The Collaborative’s website is thecolaborative.us. For more information, contact Alice Abraham at alice@thecollaborative.us or call 802-824-4200.

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