St. Petersburg, Florida, October, 2020– The HCA Healthcare Hospitals of Pinellas County including Largo Medical Center, Northside Hospital, Palms of Pasadena Hospital and St. Petersburg General Hospital announced today that they are hosting an opioid take back event to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and proper disposal of medications on Saturday, October 24, 2020 at Northside Hospital. Called “Crush the Crisis,” the event aligns with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and invites community members to safely and anonymously dispose of unused or expired prescription medications.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 2 million people in the U.S. suffered from an opioid use disorder and more than 67,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2018. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the U.S. is seeing an increase in opioid usage, with 40 states reporting increases in opioid-related mortality, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).
“Stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic may be exacerbating the opioid crisis by causing many Americans to have feelings of anxiety, grief, isolation, financial worry, and an ongoing sense of uncertainty, affecting those with substance use disorders as well as those at risk of developing one,” said Valerie Powell-Stafford, chief executive officer of Northside Hospital. “Now is more important than ever to get unused pain medications out of homes and to educate the community about the serious threat of opioid misuse.”
Law enforcement officers from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department will be collecting tablets, capsules and patches of Hydrocodone (Norco, Lortab, Vicodin), Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), Tramadol (Ultram), Codeine, Fentanyl (Duragesic), Morphine, Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and Oxymorphone (Opana). Needles, syringes, lancets or liquids will not be accepted. COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place at the event, including universal masking, social distancing, removal of high-touch items and a drive-through collection lane.
The HCA Hospitals of Pinellas County including Largo Medical Center, Northside Hospital, Palms of Pasadena Hospital and St. Petersburg General Hospital are participating as part of HCA Healthcare’s second annual national “Crush the Crisis” opioid take back day. In fall 2019, 100 HCA Healthcare facilities in 16 states collected 5,887 pounds of unused and expired medications at nationwide “Crush the Crisis” events.
To further help combat the nation’s opioid crisis, HCA Healthcare, the parent company, proudly partners with and provides clinical insight to the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM) Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. HCA Healthcare has committed $500,000 to the Collaborative to support the development of safer pain management protocols and reversal of the opioid crisis.
As a learning health system, HCA Healthcare uses data from approximately 35 million annual patient encounters to help continuously improve care. The organization uses the science of “big data” to reduce opioid misuse and transform pain management, with initiatives in surgical, emergency and other care settings, including:
- Enhanced Surgical Recovery (ESR): a multi-modal approach to pain management using pre, intra and post-operative interventions to optimize outcomes. HCA Healthcare’s ESR programs have demonstrated significant improvements in surgical recovery and patient satisfaction and, importantly, up to a 50.8% decrease in opioid use in data collected from 124,000 major abdominal, joint, gynecologic oncology, spinal and bariatric surgeries from January 2018 - August 2020.
- ALTernatives to Opioids in the Emergency Room (ALTO in the ER): a multi-modal approach to acute pain management, which focuses on alternative medication to hit various pain receptors as a first line treatment for common painful conditions. Initial results of ALTO pilot programs demonstrate a 36% reduction in opioid administrations.
- Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS): aims to stem increasing rates of opioid-related addiction, misuse diversion and death by making it more difficult for medication-seekers to doctor-shop and alter prescriptions. Physicians have access to aggregated electronic health record (EHR) providing data that will allow them to prescribe opioids judiciously.
“Crush the Crisis” will take place at Northside Hospital at 6000 49th Street North, St. Petersburg. For more information, visit hcahealthcare.com/crushthecrisis or call toll free number at (833) 582-1970.
About Largo Medical Center
Largo Medical Center is a 455-bed statutory teaching hospital serving Pinellas County from three campuses each with an ER 24/7®. The hospital offers a number of specialty services including Breast Institute, Cardiovascular Services with Advanced Heart Failure Care (Left Ventricular Assist Device, Heart Transplant), Kidney and Liver Transplant, Hepatobiliary Care (kidney, liver, and gall bladder), Orthopedic/Total Joint Care, Spine, and Neurological Care, Robotic Surgery, and Wound Care Services with Hyperbaric Medicine. Largo Medical Center’s Graduate Medical Education Department offers 100 residency and fellowship programs which are accredited through ACGME. The hospital is the West Coast Academic Center for NOVA Southeastern University and is affiliated with the USF Morsani College of Medicine.
About Northside Hospital
Serving the community since 1976, Northside Hospital is a 288-bed hospital, offering a full range of services including comprehensive and interventional stroke care, preventative and corrective cardiac care, full-service orthopedic and spine treatment an ER 24/7®, and general surgery. As one of the first hospitals in the area to achieve Atrial Fibrillation Certification (SCPC), our technologically advanced hospital allows our highly skilled physicians, nursing, and caregivers to serve our growing community. Northside Hospital is the first nationally recognized Comprehensive Stroke Center in Pinellas County and nationally recognized for quality and safety by earning an ‘A’ Patient Safety grade from the Leapfrog Group. Our employees voted us a Tampa Bay Times Top Workplace in 2020. With campus-based specialized services including the Tampa Bay Heart Institute and the Neuroscience Institute for Interventional Neuroradiology and neurologic care, Northside Hospital continues to enhance and expand its services to better serve the community
About Palms of Pasadena Hospital
Located in a Pinellas County beach community, Palms of Pasadena Hospital has been serving residents and visitors for more than 50 years. The 307-bed facility is Joint Commission accredited and committed to providing high quality medical care in a friendly hospital environment. The hospital offers a full range of services including ER 24/7®, robotic and minimally invasive surgery, orthopedics, rehabilitation center, and wound care. The hospital’s surgical weight loss program through the Florida Bariatric Centers includes both adolescent and adult programs.
About St. Petersburg General Hospital
St. Petersburg General Hospital is a Joint Commission accredited, full-service 215-bed acute care facility, providing comprehensive emergency care including the area’s first seniors emergency service designed to meet the needs of the elderly, diagnostic, medical, surgical and women’s services, including obstetrics. The hospital is a seven-time recipient of the Top Workplace honor by the Tampa Bay Times and named an LBGTQ Leader since 2013, by the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). St Petersburg General Hospital is accredited as a Breast Center with Digital Imaging and Computer Aided Detection, accredited Lung Cancer Screening Center, Advanced Primary Stroke Center, Accredited Community Cancer Center (CoC), Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery, and a GYN Robotic Surgery Epicenter.