Marshfield Clinic Health System is making it easier for patients and community members to safely dispose of medication by adding collection kiosks at 14 Marshfield Clinic pharmacy locations across Wisconsin.

The kiosks are part of a partnership between Marshfield Clinic Health System and Security Health Plan of Wisconsin to help curb prescription drug abuse in Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker has declared an opioid epidemic in Wisconsin where in 2015 more people died from opioid overdoses than in vehicle crashes, according to the Department of Health Services.

Marshfield Clinic is the first health care system in central, northern and western Wisconsin to offer year-round medication drop boxes.

“Marshfield Clinic as a prescribing provider in our region is taking responsibility for safe disposal of any unwanted or expired medications. This is a top priority to keep these drugs, if not fully used by our patients, out of the communities we serve,” said Sarah Rall, director of Pharmacy for Marshfield Clinic. “Our providers receive continuing education regarding appropriate prescribing of opioids and this is another step in curbing unwarranted use.”

The kiosks have the added advantage of preventing inappropriate disposal of medications such as flushing them down the toilet, where drugs can pollute drinking water, or throwing them in the trash, where they can be found and used by others.

Medsafe kiosks can be found at Marshfield Clinic locations in Marshfield at the main campus and Central Avenue pharmacies; in Eau Claire at the main campus and Oakwood and Riverview centers; and Mosinee, Weston, Wausau, Merrill, Minocqua, Mercer, Ladysmith, Rice Lake and Chippewa Falls centers.

The MedSafe stainless steel kiosks are designed for patients to insert their unused or expired medications. When the kiosk is filled, authorized persons will safely remove the contents for proper disposal.

The kiosks are just one piece of a comprehensive effort by Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS), which oversees both Marshfield Clinic and Security Health Plan, to combat prescription drug abuse. Among the organization’s accomplishments and initiatives are:

  • MCHS providers reduced total morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) prescribed by almost 30 percent since 2012.
  • Since 2011, in coordination with the Lakeland Area Prescription Drug Abuse Taskforce, Clinic providers in northern Wisconsin decreased MMEs by nearly 40 percent.
  • The MCHS electronic health record (EHR) was one of only two systems as of January to have the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) embedded into the EHR. The PDMP allows a prescriber or MCHS staff to review a patient’s complete history of controlled substances with one click.
  • Marshfield Clinic Center for Community Outreach works to educate and build coalitions within MCHS’ service area on issues such as prescription drug abuse and opioids.
  • Security Health Plan works with Medicare and its Overutilization Monitoring System to review members who exceed certain standards for morphine dosage. It also regularly audits frequent opioid prescribers.
  • Security Health Plan has on-staff nurses and social workers who coordinate health care services and help members understand and manage their conditions, and assist in navigating the health care system.
  • Security Health Plan is investing up to $150,000 in Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Grants to support communities in their efforts to prevent misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. Funding may be used to develop new projects or programs, or to improve existing programs.
  • Northwoods Coalition has supported numerous prescription drug collection events and permanent sites, trainings and presentations, and has been involved with opioid prescriber policy development.

“We have created a diverse platform of opportunities to help people, organizations and communities battling prescription drug abuse – and particularly opioid use disorders,” said Sue Wilhelm, director of Pharmacy Services at Security Health Plan. “This is a deeply rooted problem that will take collaboration, dedication and persistence to overcome. But there is hope and we’ll continue to find ways to help those we know and love who struggle with a prescription drug use disorder.