HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Clinic, in conjunction with the Mississippi State Medical Association Alliance, held a ribbon cutting event for a MedReturn Drug Disposal Box on the first floor of the clinic's main campus.
The box will be a service for patients to properly and safely dispose of unused or unneeded prescriptions and other medications.
The disposal box is an effort of Hattiesburg Clinic and the Alliance to combat opioid addiction and abuse, which was deemed a public health epidemic by the federal government just last year.
"This has been a project that I have been working on since June 2017," said Heather Rifkin, President of the Mississippi State Medical Association Alliance. "This box will be able to accept any prescription or over-the-counter, opioids or any unneeded medication for proper disposal and destruction."
"We do not want the community throwing their items into the trash," Rifkin said. "We don't want them flushing them down the toilet, which may contaminate the water supply. We thought it was important in the opioid battle to find a way to properly dispose of those medications. We are happy to provide this service to the community."
More than 115 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses.
"We are hoping that this will be the first of many boxes," Rifkin said. "We are working together with communities in the surrounding area to try to find safe and secure locations that are accessible to the community for the placement of future boxes, for proper medication disposal."
Some items such as needles, liquids, ointments and aerosol cans are not accepted at the location.