UnitedHealthcare is working with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and local care providers to confront the opioid epidemic by donating 10,000 opioid disposal kits to the Montgomery County Opiate Taskforce and Kettering Medical Center.
The disposal kits offer people a convenient way to remove unused opioids from their homes and prevent their misuse or diversion.
“All of the drug disposal kits donated today have the capability of destroying hundreds of thousands of prescription pills, which will stop the drugs from ever falling into the wrong hands,” said DeWine. “UnitedHealthcare’s commitment to making these kits available will help those on the front lines in Dayton.”
Over 60 percent of Americans with leftover opioid medications keep them in their homes, and 70 percent of people misusing opioid painkillers first got them from family or friends. UnitedHealthcare is providing the opioid disposal kits as one way to promote the safe disposal of opioids and help prevent further deaths from these drugs. The kits were made possible thanks to a partnership with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.
“Our goal is to give residents a safe, environmentally responsible way to dispose of unused pain medication,” said Tracy Davidson, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Ohio. “Safe disposal is critical to fighting the opioid epidemic in the Dayton community. Safe disposal is one important step in preventing opioids from being misused, and ultimately, in saving lives.”
Each opioid disposal kit deactivates up to 45 tablets or six opioid patches through this easy process:
- Open the sealable pouch, which contains active carbon
- Add unused medications and warm water as directed to the pouch
- The carbon binds to the active drug ingredients and breaks the medication down
- Seal the pouch and safely discard in your household garbage
Promoting use of the kits is part of UnitedHealthcare and Kettering Medical Center’s Opioid Community Partnership to confront the opioid epidemic. UnitedHealthcare is launching the partnership in 10 cities across the United States, including Dayton, and Kettering Medical Center has been selected as the leading care provider partner for this community.
The partnership focuses on five key interventions where research indicates there is significant potential to fight opioid addiction and misuse: promoting CDC guidelines on prescribing and dispensing; working with pharmacies on appropriate prescribing levels; reducing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in newborns; promoting Naloxone use; and increasing referrals to medication-assisted treatment centers.
"We are on the frontline of this battle against opioids and other addictive drugs,” said Terry Burns, president, Kettering Medical Center. “Together, through coordination and collaboration with community partners, and with the help of the resources made available today from UnitedHealthcare, we can help reverse this epidemic.”
More than 2 million people in the United States suffer from substance-use disorders related to prescription opioid painkillers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Ohio ranks among the Top 5 states with the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths. In 2016, there were more than 3,600 opioid-related overdose deaths in Ohio – a rate of nearly 33 deaths per 100,000 people and more than double the national rate of 13 deaths per 100,000.
For more information about UnitedHealthcare’s response to the opioid epidemic, visit https://newsroom.uhc.com/opioids.html.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.2 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.