Avera Medical Minute: New prescription drug take-back boxes offered

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Each day across the nation more than 40 Americans lose their lives because of opioid addiction. Our region is not immune to that epidemic.

To help combat this staggering number, Avera pharmacies have set up prescription drug take-back boxes.

"I take medication every day, ever since my heart incident about eight years ago," Linda Olson, a patient at Avera, said. "These are the pills that I take every day that includes morning and evening. And I keep them all in a basket because it's much easier when I go to fill my holder for the week. So, that I have everything right here."

Dropping off medications for Linda Olson can be difficult since there are only a handful of prescription drop boxes throughout Sioux Falls.

"What I have done is what everyone else has done I'm sure, I've kept them in a bag in the back of my car," Olson said. "So, that the next time I'm downtown by the police station I can go drop it off."

Now, thanks to Avera, all of their pharmacies locations in Sioux Falls will have take back boxes or kiosks.

"It's important to provide the service for patients because we know that the majority of people struggling with opioid addiction get access to opioids in their home or the homes of friends or family for the first time," Melissa Goff, Avera retail/innovation pharmacy vice-president, said. "And so, it's not only important that we encourage patients to safely store their medications in their home to prevent potential diversion and accidental ingestion. But, also remove opioids and controlled substances from their home when they are done using them."

"We have registered with the DEA as authorized collectors," Olson said. "So, we are now able to take medications including controlled substances that patients are no longer taking or have expired so that we can remove them from home."

Now getting rid of unwanted prescriptions is easier than ever. And Linda could not be happier to have a more convenient way to drop off her prescription drugs.

"Just that I do think it's a great idea to get rid of your medication this way," Olson said. "That way you don't have to worry about where it is going."

"These take-back kiosks are really in line with Avera's initiative to combat the opioid epidemic by providing more methods for safe disposal for opioid medications," Goff said.

Two other locations in Mitchell and Pierre will offer drug take-back boxes; Grassland Clinic in Mitchell and Avera St. Mary's in Pierre.

For more information, you can visit avera.org.