West Valley Medical Center leaders announced today that hospital colleagues have organized the third annual "Crush the Crisis” prescription drug take back day on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., to help raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and the importance of safe and proper disposal of unused or expired medications. The event, which coincides with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, offers the community an opportunity to safely and anonymously dispose of medications that may be left over from previous procedures or other medical visits.

In 2022, there were more than 109,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increase from 2021. The CDC reported 381 Idahoans died from overdoses last year.

“We feel it is crucial to bring awareness to the dangers of drug misuse and abuse as the nationwide drug overdose epidemic continues to grow,” said Dr. Richard Augustus, chief medical officer of West Valley Medical Center. “As a part of our commitment to the community, we are proud to support and help educate the community on the proper disposal of medications.”

West Valley Medical Center is participating as part of HCA Healthcare’s fifth annual national “Crush the Crisis” prescription drug take back day. In October 2022, all 15 HCA Healthcare U.S. divisions hosted events at more than 100 locations across 17 states. In total, approximately 19,423 pounds, equivalent to 13.4 million doses, of unused and expired prescription medications were collected. West Valley has collected 150 pounds of medications total in the two years the hospital has participated.

Law enforcement officers from the Caldwell Police Department will be participating again this year, collecting tablets, capsules and patches of Hydrocodone (Norco, Lortab, Vicodin), Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), Tramadol (Ultram), Codeine, Fentanyl (Duragesic), Morphine, Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and Oxymorphone (Opana). Ointments, lotions, drops, liquid medication in leak-proof containers, vape cartridges without batteries and pet medication will also be accepted. Any medications will be accepted; however, needles, syringes, lancets or liquids will not be accepted.

As a part of their commitment to combat prescription drug misuse, HCA Healthcare, the parent company of West Valley Medical Center, has worked with the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM) Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. HCA Healthcare has given $750,000 to the Collaborative to support the development of safer pain management protocols and the reversal of the opioid crisis.

As a learning health system, HCA Healthcare uses data from approximately 37 million annual patient encounters to help continuously improve care. The organization uses the science of “big data” to reduce prescription drug misuse and transform pain management, with initiatives in surgical, emergency and other care settings, including:

  • Enhanced Surgical Recovery (ESR): a multi-modal approach to pain management using pre-, intra- and post-operative interventions to optimize outcomes. HCA Healthcare’s ESR programs have demonstrated significant improvements in surgical recovery and patient satisfaction, including an up to 44% decrease in opioid usage for some surgeries.
  • Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS): aims to stem increasing rates of prescription pain reliever-related addiction, misuse diversion and death by making it more difficult for medication-seekers to doctor-shop and alter prescriptions. Physicians have access to aggregated electronic health records, providing data that will allow them to prescribe opioids judiciously.

“Crush the Crisis” will take place at West Valley Medical Center. The hospital will have a convenient drive-thru at the main entrance of the hospital, located at 1717 Arlington Avenue, Caldwell, Idaho 83605. For more information, visit HCAhealthcare.com/CrushTheCrisis or call toll-free number at (833) 582-1970.