Riverside Police Department and Riverside Community Hospital with 10-boxes of expired medication collected at event.

Riverside, CA – Riverside Community Hospital, an affiliate of HCA Healthcare, hosted their first annual “Crush the Crisis: National Opioid Take Back Day” to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and the importance of safe and proper disposal of unused or expired medications on Saturday, October 29, 2022. The event coincided with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and invited the community to safely dispose of unused or expired medication. Riverside Community Hospital partnered with the Riverside Police Department for the take back event. During the 2-hour drop-off period, law enforcement collected 122lbs of expired and unused medication.

In 2021, there were more than 107,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a near 15% increase in drug related deaths from 2020. In Riverside County, there has been 43 overdose deaths involving fentanyl since 2021.[1]

“Riverside Community Hospital has seen firsthand the devastating consequences of drug misuse and abuse,” said Sari Nabulsi, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Riverside Community Hospital. “As a leading healthcare provider in the Inland Empire region, we believe it is vital to increase awareness of this important issue and offer our community a safe way to dispose of medications to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.”

Riverside Community Hospital is participated as part of HCA Healthcare’s fourth annual national “Crush the Crisis” opioid take back day. In October 2021, 96 HCA Healthcare facilities in 17 states collected 15,566 pounds of unused and expired prescription medications at “Crush the Crisis” events across the nation. This year, Riverside Community Hospital joined hospitals across the nation, including four sister facilities in California and Las Vegas, Nevada, for this important event. Combined, the five HCA Healthcare facilities in California and Nevada collected a total of 1,511 pounds of medication.

“These events, in tandem with the DEA’s National Take Back Day, are part of an enterprise-wide effort to curb the tide of opioid misuse and addiction in the communities we serve. COVID-19 has exacerbated the opioid epidemic and efforts to ‘Crush the Crisis’ are now more important than ever,” said Jackie Van Blaricum, Chief Executive Officer at Riverside Community Hospital.

HCA Healthcare has worked with the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM) Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. HCA Healthcare has given $750,000 to the Collaborative to support the development of safer pain management protocols and reversal of the opioid crisis.

[1] https://www.rivco.org/news/riverside-county-committee-combat-fentanyl-abuse#:~:text=Since%20the%20beginning%20of%202021,milligrams%20to%20make%20a%20teaspoon