UVM Medical Center offers pill take-back boxes

April 30, 2017 GMT


To keep unused medication off the streets and out of our drinking water, the University of Vermont Medical Center installed permanent prescription take-back boxes.

Every day, hundreds of prescriptions are filled at UVM pharmacies, but any unused medication couldn’t be returned where it was originally picked up.

“In the past, we were unable to take back that medication because A; we weren’t signed up as a collector by the DEA and B; if somebody brought their medication into us, we had to have a way of accounting for that so we would know that medication was handed to someone and that person didn’t keep the medication or do something with it to divert it,” Mark DiParlo, director of UVM Outpatient Pharmacy.


A blue box is changing everything.

“The hospital as a whole and the pharmacy itself is known for healthcare in the community,” said DiParlo. “And I think that as a responsibility of that we were being told by patients and by our physician staff that it’s one of the – they perceived our responsibility as dispensing this medication to have a way to take it back safely and get it out of the community to protect the environment and to help with the opiate problem we have in our area.”

All three UVM pharmacy locations now have a blue take-back box. That includes the Ambulatory Care Center, S. Prospect St. campus, and Fanny Allen Rehabilitation campus.

These boxes have only been available for two months, but DiParlo says hundreds of pills have already been collected.

“I think we’ve emptied three 100-gallon containers of medication,” DiParlo said.

Keep in mind, there are a few things that can’t go in the take-back boxes.

“We can’t take needles and syringes, whether they’re insulin or something else that gets put in there,” DiParlo said. “We can’t take liquids that are greater than four ounces, and we ask that if you are bringing liquid in that you put it in a plastic bag before you put it in. And the third item we can’t really take are aerosols.”

The boxes are available when the pharmacies are open.