UnitedHealthcare Community Plan is confronting the opioid epidemic by donating 2,000 opioid disposal kits to the Byrnes Health Education Center and the Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Porch Light Program.
The disposal kits offer people a convenient way to remove unused opioids from their homes and prevent their misuse or diversion.
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 Community Plan is donating the opioid disposal kits 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.
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
UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Pennsylvania serves more than 270,000 people enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP plan across the Commonwealth. Promoting use of the kits is part of its continued efforts to confront the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania. Last year, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan donated 10,000 opioid disposal kits to the Byrnes Health Education Center and Family First Health.
“This donation to the Byrnes Health Education Center and the Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Porch Light Program underscores our ongoing engagement in the fight against the opioid epidemic,” said Allison Davenport, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Pennsylvania. “These kits provide Pennsylvanians with a safe way to dispose of unused pain medication. We know that safe disposal is an important step in preventing opioids from being misused, and ultimately, in saving lives.”
The Byrnes Health Education Center is raising awareness of the overdose epidemic among children through educational programs about the impact drugs can have on individuals, families and communities.
The Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Porch Light Program is a joint collaboration with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. This collaboration focuses on issues that have tangible effects on local communities, such as substance abuse, and works to create positive changes within the community.
UnitedHealthcare, in partnership with community groups across the country, has focused 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.
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, in 2016, there were 2,235 opioid-related overdose deaths in Pennsylvania – a rate of 18.5 deaths per 100,000 people.
For more information about UnitedHealthcare’s efforts to address 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.