Munson installing medication disposal containers

Special to the Record-EagleDisposal containers for unused medication are being installed in Munson Healthcare facilities.

TRAVERSE CITY — Munson Healthcare is installing MedSafe medication disposal containers at its hospitals.

The containers are intended to offer the public a safe place to dispose of unused or expired medications.

The MedSafe containers can accept controlled and non-controlled medications in pill, tablet or capsule form, as well as ointments, powders, creams and lotions. Liquid medications must be in original containers, which must contain no more than 4 ounces of liquid medication and should be wrapped in a paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag.

The containers being installed at Munson hospitals can't be used for aerosol spray cans, needles, syringes or home-based medical equipment supplies. For a list of alternate locations for medication disposal — including needles, syringes, spray cans and home medical equipment — visit

The website of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy ( also lists alternate drop-off sites.

Use of medication disposal containers could help prevent opioid misuse, overdose and addiction, James Whelan, M.D., medical director for Population Health for Munson, said in a release. The Munson Healthcare Foundations funded the purchase of the MedSafe disposal containers, he said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said accidental exposure to medicine in the home is a major source of unintentional poisonings in the U.S.

The FDA website states that 255,732 cases of improper medicine use were reported in 2007 to Poison Control Centers in the United States. About 23,783 of those cases involved accidental exposure to another person’s medicine. About 5,000 of the cases involved children 6 years and younger, the FDA said.

The MedSafe containers are being installed during the next 30 days at Munson Medical Center, Kalkaska Memorial Health Center, Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital, Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital, Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital, Munson Healthcare Otsego Memorial Hospital and Munson Healthcare Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital.

Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital already had a medication disposal container in place.