First Drug Take-Back Day a Huge Success

Co-sponsored by B-CORE, the BWH Pharmacy and Partners Employee Assistance Program, our first Drug Take-Back Day was held in January, 2018. Several employees emptied out their medicine cabinets, getting rid of expired and potentially dangerous medications. We collected one and a half huge boxes of medications! Everyone who dispensed of their medicines received a $5 cafeteria gift card, courtesy of B-CORE.

Remember: there is always a bin at the BWH Outpatient Pharmacy where you can dispense of your unused medications at any time.

Welcome to B-CORE: The Brigham Comprehensive Opioid Response and Education Program

The U.S. is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, and Massachusetts has suffered disproportionately. In 2015, over 1,500 people died from an opioid-related overdose in our state. Opioid-related deaths outnumber any other type of accidental death, including from motor vehicle accidents. The number of lost lives is just a small fraction of the morbidity associated with opioids; our communities are in crisis – a crisis that affects young and old, rich and poor, and all races. We know that prescribers are partially responsible: Governor Baker’s opioid taskforce reported that 50% of Massachusetts residents stated that painkillers are overprescribed, and that Massachusetts doctors are less likely to discuss the risks of opioid medications than physicians in other parts of the country. We also know that patients have a poor understanding about the safety of opioids, and that, since the majority of non-medical users of opioids get them from friends or relatives, there is an opportunity to reduce diversion through more appropriate prescribing and disposal of unused medications. Finally, once a person becomes addicted, options for treatment are limited by a hard-to-navigate, fragmented system that makes it challenging for someone in their time of need to actually get help.

In response, we have launched the Brigham Comprehensive Response and Education (B-CORE) Program. This project is designed to serve the entire Brigham and Women’s Healthcare system to address all aspects of opioids as they relate to patients and our community.

Our initiatives include:
1) Prescribing guidelines
2) Improved access to naloxone to help reverse overdoses
3) Improved access to treatment for patients with opioid use disorder
4) Interfacing with the larger Partners system to improve resources for providers
5) Focusing on education of providers and patients regarding the safe use of opioids

Opioid-related harm is the public health issue of this time in Massachusetts. It affects each of us. It is a topic where we, at the Brigham, want to lead. Thank you for interest and contact us at any time for questions or to become involved.

Inaugural Opioid Grand Rounds

Monica Bharel, MD, MPH

The Inaugural B-CORE Opioid Grand Rounds was held in Bornstein Auditorium on February 2, 2017.

The distinguished guest speaker was Dr. Monica Bharel, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, who discussed:

“Data, Disparities, and Public Health: Addressing Equity from Bedside to Public Health”

Read more about the event here: BWH Bulletin