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Saint Francis hosting prescription drug take-back event

Grand Island, Neb. — Saint Francis Medical Center and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs by hosting a prescription drug take-back event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Individuals are encouraged to bring their medications for disposal to Saint Francis Medical Center Patient Tower Lobby at 2620 West Faidley Ave. in Grand Island. The service is free and anonymous — no questions asked.

Last April, Americans turned in 276 tons of prescription drugs at more than 5,600 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,300 state and local law enforcement partners.  In its four previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in nearly 775 tons of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them.

The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act.  Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like Saint Francis Medical Center and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

About Saint Francis Medical Center

Saint Francis Medical Center is a nonprofit faith-based hospital serving Central Nebraska with state-of-the-art healthcare services. A new patient tower was completed in 2007 with 159 acute-care patient rooms, including the Family Birthing Center, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Intensive Care Unit and a 10-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit. Saint Francis also operates a Cancer Treatment Center in Grand Island and Hastings, a Skilled Care Unit and an alcohol and drug treatment center.

About Catholic Health Initiatives

Saint Francis Medical Center is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Englewood, Colo. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 73 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health-services organizations; two accredited nursing colleges; and home health agencies. In fiscal year 2011, CHI provided more than $612 million in charity care and community benefit, including services for the poor, free clinics, education and research. With annual operating revenues of approximately $9.6 billion, CHI is the nation's third-largest Catholic health care system.