As of September 2018, Boulder Community Health’s Foothills Hospital
is an official location for the Colorado Household Medication Take-Back
Program. The drop-off receptacle is located in the emergency department
waiting area at Foothills Hospital and is available for patients, staff,
and the public for use in the disposal of household medications.
By law, only retail pharmacies, hospital or clinic pharmacies, and law
enforcement facilities may have these official medication take-back receptacles.
We are also listed as a drop-off site with the Colorado Department of
Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Many people have unused or expired medications at home but are unsure of
how to properly dispose of them. Most often, people simply just throw
away or flush their medications. This can lead to medications and controlled
substances ending up in our landfills and water supplies.
The program is an effort to help curb the improper disposal of medications
as well as help keep prescriptions and certain controlled substances out
of the hands of those who they’re not prescribed to, especially
children. The public has been asking for our participation in this program
and as a community-based health care organization, we take the needs and
concerns of those in the community seriously.
All BCH staff, patients, their family members and the public are welcome
to drop off their personal expired or unused medications and certain prescribed
controlled substances. However, there are specific requirements as to
which medications and substances may be disposed of in the receptacle.
Hospital medications are not to be disposed of in this collection receptacle.
Other medications and substances which CANNOT be accepted for disposal include:
- DEA Schedule I drugs (heroin, LSD, ecstasy)
- Needles, syringes and other sharps
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Medication waste
Medications and substances which CAN be disposed of include:
- Prescription medications
- Prescribed controlled substances (Vicodin, OxyContin, Adderall)
- Over-the-counter medications
A more comprehensive list of medications and substances which can and cannot
be disposed of in this receptacle can be seen in the slideshare below.
This program is also a way for us to help address the growing opioid crisis.
Research shows that prescription medications are the most commonly abused
drugs for children aged 12-13 and that 50% of drug abusers obtain medications
from family and/or friends. According to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, more than 160,000 people died from prescription opioid-related
overdoses between 1999 and 2014 in the U.S. This program is a small step
in preventing prescription medications from being taken by those for whom
they were not prescribed.
The CDPHE and DEA both recommend blacking out any personal information
on medication containers before disposing in the collection receptacle.
And while placing the original medication container in the receptacle
is allowed, you can conserve space by pouring your pills or capsules in
a zip-top bag and then recycling the original containers separately. We
encourage all employees to share this information with patients and their
families to help make this program a success.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.