The first “Crush the Crisis” opioid take-back event was held at TriStar Centennial Medical Center on Oct. 27, 2017. With the support of the Nashville Metro Police Department, the team collected approximately 21 pounds of medication which equates to more than 14,000 doses.
Over the span of just three years, Sara’s and Dr. Hodrick’s dream has spread from the hospital to the division, and in 2019 the initiative expanded nationally as 100 HCA Healthcare facilities partnered with local enforcement to host take back day events in 16 states. As a result, an astonishing 5,887 pounds of unused and expired medication — the equivalent of more than 4 million doses — were collected.
On Saturday, Oct. 24, HCA Healthcare facilities across the nation will once again partner with local law enforcement agencies to host “Crush the Crisis” opioid take-back events. This year, the event will align with National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, sponsored by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Uniformed law enforcement officers will be on-site at each HCA Healthcare take-back location to collect unused and expired prescription medication, safely and anonymously.
Opioid misuse is a national public health crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 2 million people in the United States suffered from an opioid use disorder in 2018. That same year, 67,367 died from drug overdoses, with opioids involved in 70% of those deaths.
The opioid stewardship program led by Dr. Hodrick and Sara employs an evidence-based approach to care that ensures each patient receives effective and responsible treatment for their pain, however without the need to introduce them to the inherent risks that come with these potentially addictive medications.
Some approaches have included introducing essential oils, practicing mindfulness and shifting the focus from the numerical pain scale to one of function, which means asking the patient what they are physically able to do rather than focusing on a specific number.
“Joint-replacement surgery has traditionally been a subset of medicine that has prescribed a large number of opioids because of the pain associated with the surgery. But over the last decade or so, tremendous improvements have lessened the inflammation associated with the surgeries, thus decreasing the actual need for large amounts of opioids for extended periods of time,” Sara says.