As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, so does the nation’s opioid epidemic. To curb opioid misuse and addiction in our communities, HCA Healthcare is hosting our second annual national “Crush the Crisis” opioid take back day, which provides communities with an opportunity for safe disposal of unused and unwanted medications. Find out more below…

HCA Healthcare has announced its second annual national “Crush the Crisis” event to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and proper disposal of medications. On Saturday, October 24, in alignment with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, approximately 95 HCA Healthcare facilities across 16 states will partner with local law enforcement agencies to collect unused and expired prescription medications at events across the country.

Dr. Michael Schlosser, chief medical officer of HCA Healthcare’s national group and vice president of group operations, Clinical Operations Group

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).

“The misuse of prescription opioids often begins when the drugs are obtained from a friend or family member’s medicine cabinet, making it more important than ever to get unused pain medications out of homes and safely discarded,” said Dr. Michael Schlosser, chief medical officer of HCA Healthcare’s national group and vice president of group operations, Clinical Operations Group.

Schlosser continues, “We were thrilled at the success of last year’s ‘Crush the Crisis’ events and look forward to continuing the fight against opioid abuse on October 24.”

Sara Stedman, orthopedic nurse at HCA Healthcare’s TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

The idea for HCA Healthcare’s “Crush the Crisis” came from Sara Stedman, an orthopedic nurse who has witnessed the effects of opioid addiction. In 2017, Stedman inspired a single take back event at TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and the following year HCA Healthcare’s TriStar Division joined her cause, with eight hospitals collecting more than 224 pounds of medication.

“In every community, people are losing their jobs, losing their families, losing their lives, because of opioid abuse, and I felt like I needed to act,” said Stedman. “Thanks to the continuous support of HCA Healthcare and those across the country that participated, we’re making a real impact by removing harmful drugs from our communities.”

Last year, “Crush the Crisis” was rolled out nationally, spanning 100 locations across 16 states, with 5,887 pounds of medication collected. This equates to over 4 million doses of unused medication.

HCA Healthcare’s 2019 “Crush the Crisis” opioid take back events collected 5,887 pounds of unused, unwanted and expired medication.

This year, COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place at the events, including universal masking, social distancing, and the removal of high-touch items.

To further help combat the nation’s opioid crisis, HCA Healthcare proudly collaborates 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 $750,000 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 through 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 records (EHR), providing data that will allow them to prescribe opioids judiciously.

Please click here for more information on HCA Healthcare’s “Crush the Crisis” collection sites.

HCA Healthcare Capital Division colleagues at 2019’s “Crush the Crisis” opioid take back event.

Founded in 1968, Nashville-based HCA Healthcare is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services, comprising more than 2,000 sites of care, including 186 hospitals, surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, and physician clinics, in 21 states and the United Kingdom.