SVMC Collects More Than 2,000 Pounds of Unwanted Drugs
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: NEWS, 2021

SVMC Collects More Than 2,000 Pounds of Unwanted Drugs

Caption: Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette works with Security Guard Joshua Scheffler to empty the MedSafe box in the lobby of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.

BENNINGTON, VT—December 3, 2021—In the 4 years since its installation in the main lobby of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, the MedSafe collection box has facilitated retrieval of 2,000 pounds of unwanted medications from homes and the street. The specialized box is available to the public 24 hours each day. 

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.

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 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. In addition, the box is continuously monitored by video surveillance to prevent tampering.

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. Several community members also provide funding for MedSafe’s ongoing expenses.

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.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is among the most lauded small rural health systems in the nation. It is the recipient of the American Hospital Association’s 2020 Rural Hospital Leadership Award. SVMC ranked fourth nationwide for the value of care it provides by the Lown Institute Hospital Index and is a five-time recipient of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence. It has also received the highest marks possible from the Leapfrog Group. 

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. 

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