SNHMC unveils drop-off box for unused prescriptions

Originally Published by The Nashua Telegraph, October 27, 2017
Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or

NASHUA – As part of an initiative with Granite Health’s Zero Left Campaign, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center unveiled their permanent Take Back Box for unwanted or expired prescriptions medications.

On Thursday in the main lobby of the hospital’s 8 Prospect St. entrance, CEO of Southern NH Health Mike Rose, Director of SNHMC Pharmacy John Berard, Director of Emergency Department at SNHMC Dr. Joseph Leahy, Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess and others gathered to introduce the new initiative.

“We know it’s common for many people who become dependent on opioids to get started from what’s inside medicine cabinets. This helps dispose of those drugs without allowing them to be improperly used,” Donchess said.

That was the case for Jim and Jeanne Moser’s son, Adam Moser, who was only 27 when he passed away from an opioid related overdose. They then began the Zero Left campaign, and other hospitals around the state have joined forces to install these Take Back Boxes, as well.

Like the one unveiled in Nashua, Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, LRGHealthcare in Laconia and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover also have Take Back Boxes for prescription pills.

These boxes work to prevent pill abuse and the theft of them from people’s homes.

“People may feel uncomfortable or intimidated going to the police station, so this may be a nicer avenue for some,” Leahy said.

He said this is a step in the right direction as the state continues to work on the issue.

“We know people hold onto prescription medications, and especially with teens in the house, part of this it to prevent that,” Leahy said.

So, this free anonymous service is now offered to the community to maybe prevent addiction before habits have the chance to form. It’s heard all too often that addicts started using by experimenting with prescription pills.

In a press release, Mike Rose, CEO of Southern New Hampshire Health, said, “We know that addiction often begins with prescription opioids from a family or friend’s leftover pain medication. An important first step to prevent addiction is to remove extra or expired medication by offering more resources for patients to dispose of unneeded and expired medication.”

The Take Back Box is available during the times the lobby is open, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“People can come and take their medications and drop them off as if their mailing a letter,” said John Berard, assistant director of pharmacy services.

He said after the prescriptions are collected in the box, they’re then shipped back to the distributor for destruction. Eventually, they will all be incinerated.

However, officials said, the box is not to be used for the disposal of illegal drugs, needles or syringes.

On the same day SNHMC unveiled its Take Back Box, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency. As communities across the country look to cleanse themselves on the opioid epidemic that has plagued them, this declaration will last for 90 days and can be renewed repeatedly. As the issue continues, steps are being taken to combat the opioid crisis both nationally and locally.


Posted: 10/27/2017 by The Nashua Telegraph