Bowling Green’s TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital, in an effort to help address the growing problem of opioid addiction and abuse, will participate in the “Crush the Crisis” event sponsored by its parent company, Nashville-based HCA Healthcare.

From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Bowling Green Police Department officers will be on-site at Greenview to assist with the collection and disposal of unused medications.

Volunteers will be underneath the canopy at Greenview’s front entrance 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.

Andria McGregor, marketing coordinator for Greenview, said the drugs that are dropped off will be destroyed within the guidelines of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

It’s another opportunity to get rid of unused prescription drugs that could be abused, according to Tommy Loving, director of the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force.

“Every time you get prescription drugs off the street, it’s a good thing,” Loving said.

Loving pointed out that the Bowling Green Police Department, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky State Police Post 3 in Bowling Green all have drop-off containers that local residents can use to dispose of unused prescription drugs.

The “Crush the Crisis” event provides another convenient opportunity to drop off the medications.

“Unfortunately, a lot of times people don’t finish all of their prescription and just put it in a cabinet,” Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower said. “Other members of the family might take it themselves. We’d rather they bring the unused drugs to a place where they can be disposed of properly.”

BGPD spokesman Officer Ronnie Ward said Greenview’s event is another weapon in the battle against the drug epidemic.

“It provides another option for people to dispose of unneeded drugs, and that’s always good,” Ward said.

HCA Healthcare is holding “Crush the Crisis” events at 65 HCA facilities across 15 states in response to what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has identified as an epidemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 47,600 opioid-involved drug overdose deaths in 2017. Thirty-five states had significant increases in drug overdose death rates from 2013 to 2017, and Kentucky is among the states where the crisis is growing.

Kentucky, in fact, is among the top 10 states with the highest opioid-related overdose deaths. In 2017, there were 1,160 reported opioid-involved deaths in Kentucky – a rate of 27.9 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to the average national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons.

“Opioid addiction is a growing crisis not only in Warren County but across our nation,” said David Smith, chief medical officer at TriStar Greenview. “Our goal for ‘Crush the Crisis’ is to raise awareness of the dangers of opioid addiction and educate our community about the proper disposal of these medications. Opioid addiction can happen to anyone and we are providing this drop-off opportunity confidentially and anonymously.”

More information about the “Crush the Crisis” event can be found at hcahealthcare.com.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

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