What is that Blue Box in the Pharmacy?


Mildred and Jay at the blue box at DePaul's pharmacy

You’ve seen the Red Box (movies), Amazon has the Yellow Box, UPS has the Brown Box, but have you seen the Blue Box? If you have been in one of the Bon Secours Hampton Roads pharmacies, then you might have noticed the blue box with the big locks on the door.

Mildred getting her perscriptionIn October 2014, the DEA started allowing pharmacies to collect expired and unused prescription medications for destruction to help with the national opioid crisis. By allowing people to drop off unused controlled medications (i.e. Oxycodone, Diazepam, Percocet, etc.) for the local pharmacy to dispose, the DEA hoped to reduce the amount of potent drugs that end up illegally on the streets.

Bon Secours Virginia installed disposal bins (blue boxes) at all their retail pharmacy locations in May 2015 to help their patients and visitors with a way to get rid of unused medications and to protect the environment. Until then people were advised to mix medications in coffee grinds and dispose of them in the regular trash. However, evidence of prescription medications has been found in most waterways in the U.S.

When deciding what to do with your unused and expired medications, please drop them in one of the blue boxes at one of the Bon Secours pharmacies.

Medsafe Blue BoxLocally at Bon Secours Hampton Roads there are bins at Atrium Pharmacy at DePaul Medical Center, Good Health pharmacies at Maryview Medical Center, Mary Immaculate Hospital, and at the Good Health Pharmacy at Harbour View. Our pharmacies are open to everyone to dispose of prescriptions during the hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. All of the pharmacies are open to the general public; we accept all insurances including Medicare D plans; and we offer quality, friendly, and quick service when filling prescriptions.

In the three years since the DEA has allowed the pharmacies to have disposal bins, Bon Secours is the only group to have bins in all their pharmacies. Sadly, participation in the program has not been embraced by the majority of chain pharmacies. The military has multiple locations for disposal, but the majority of chain stores do not have blue boxes for medication disposal. Only four Walgreens out of fifty stores have blue boxes in their pharmacies.

When deciding what to do with your unused and expired medications, please drop them in the blue boxes at one of the Bon Secours pharmacies. We need your help in our effort to prevent drug diversion and for environmental stewardship. If these locations are not convenient for you, please visit the DEA website for a location near to you.

~ Jay Levine
Pharmacy Manager, Atrium Pharmacy at DePaul