BENNINGTON — In the four years since its installation in the main lobby of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, the MedSafe collection box has facilitated retrieval of 2,000 pounds of unwanted medications from homes and the street. The specialized box is available to the public 24 hours each day.
The box looks like a mailbox, featuring a one-way medicine drop. It can be used to dispose of unused or expired controlled substances, non-controlled substances, and even over-the-counter medications.
Several features ensure security, including a double-locked front panel. Medications can be removed for disposal only when both a member of the Bennington Police Department and a member of the hospital staff are present. In addition, the box is monitored by video.
Disposing of unused and expired medications at a drug take-back location prevents the drugs from being abused or sold. In the past, people often flushed medications down a toilet or drain, which can cause pharmaceutical contamination of the water supply. In addition, the box is continuously monitored by video surveillance to prevent tampering.
The program was made possible through The Collaborative; Regional Prevention Partnership, a grant from the Vermont Department of Health; and cooperation from the Bennington Police Department, notably Chief of Police Paul J. Doucette and Lieutenant David Dutcher.