HCA Houston Healthcare
October 04, 2019

Three hundred pounds of addictive opioids are now out of medicine cabinets and headed for safe disposal following the September 21 "Crush the Crisis" opioid drug take-back day hosted by HCA Gulf Coast Division in the greater Houston area, Corpus Christi and south Texas.

The no-questions asked drug take-back day attracted a steady stream of individuals to turn in tablets, capsules and patches of Codeine, Hydrocodone, Demerol, Oxycodone, Darvon and other opioids at 17 HCA Healthcare-affiliated hospitals.

"The numbers are encouraging but there's still much work to be done," cautions Dr. Stephen Nesbit, chief medical officer of HCA Gulf Coast Division.

Nesbit says those no longer taking prescription pain relievers, whether or not they have expired, should speak to their physician or pharmacist to determine the safest way to dispose of these medications. He adds patients should talk to their doctor about alternative pain management approaches and most importantly, never share prescriptions with someone else.

According to a 2015 survey, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency stated more than 6.4 million Americans abused prescription drugs. Many of those cases, the agency study showed, involved the abuser getting pills from a family member's or a friend's medicine cabinet.

Prescription opioid use also is a significant risk factor or gateway to heroin addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 86 percent of young, urban injection drug users had used opioid pain relievers non-medically prior to using heroin. Their three main sources for obtaining opioids were family, friends or personal prescriptions.