Monroe, Ga. (April 16, 2019) – From 1999 to 2010, opioid-related deaths in Georgia increased by 500 percent. In 2016, there were close to 1,000 deaths involving opioids in the state and those numbers are continuing to increase. Facing those statistics and knowing that all healthcare systems need to play a role in attempting to stem this epidemic, Piedmont Healthcare is examining its pain management policies and connecting its hospitals with stakeholders in the community in an effort to address this crisis.
National Drug Take Back Day, which is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), is Saturday, April 27, and will feature activities between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Local law enforcement agencies will provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs. The majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from the home medicine cabinet. Using pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription or a doctor’s supervision can lead to accidental poisoning, overdose and abuse.
In Walton County, Monroe Police Department, Loganville Police Department and Social Circle Police Department will have collection points available for community members to turn in their unused drugs. In Loganville, it will be at Kroger, 4753 Atlanta Highway.
We will take any and all unwanted drugs and dispose of them. It is free to turn them in
|Monroe Police Department
116 South Board Street
|Saturday, April 27
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
|Social Circle Police Department
138 E Hightower Trail
Social Circle, Ga. 30025
|Saturday, April 27
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Loganville Kroger for Loganville
Police Department Saturday, April 27
4753 Atlanta Hwy, Loganville. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“One of the most important things we can do as individuals, especially as we try to protect our families and children, is to dispose of unused, unwanted, and expired prescription drugs,” said Piedmont Walton chief executive officer (CEO) Larry Ebert. “That’s why we’re supporting the efforts of our local public safety departments and letting our employees know about National Drug Take Back Day and what they can do on a personal level.”
In 2018, Take Back Day brought in more than 900,000 pounds of unused or expired prescription medication. Disposing of those drugs safely keeps them off the streets and protects the environment as well. On its website for Take Back Day, the DEA has a collection site locator that allows individuals to find the closest take back sites to where they live: https://takebackday.dea.gov/.
Throughout its 11 hospitals, Piedmont will be coordinating with various local law enforcement and public health agencies on Take Back Day.
From a system level, Piedmont, the largest healthcare provider in Georgia, convened an Opioids Task Force in 2018 and is seeking to provide patients with optimal pain management while preventing the potential for opioid abuse. One of the key tenets to Piedmont’s plan is to increase education and awareness among both patients and staff. There are times when the use of opioids is appropriate and necessary, but Piedmont’s new protocols, created by its physician leaders in consultation with clinical staff, will consider non-opioids and alternate pain management modalities such as topical therapy, local injections, massage, physical therapy and more. Piedmont will also focus on establishing system-wide standardization and coordination of prescribing protocols in key risk areas.
“It is important to reduce the stigma around opioid addiction,” said Ebert. “Unfortunately this is a sweeping epidemic, one that is effecting people across the country, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. No one person, organization, city or state can tackle it alone, but Piedmont Walton is proud to join our sister hospitals and play a role alongside our patients and partners in the community.”
You can learn more about Piedmont Walton Hospital at piedmont.org