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Combating the opioid crisis

In 2020, HCA Healthcare announced its second annual national “Crush the Crisis” event to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and proper disposal of medications.

On Saturday, Oct. 24, in alignment with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, approximately 95 HCA Healthcare facilities across 18 states partnered with local law enforcement agencies to collect unused and expired prescription medications at events across the country.

  • We collected a record 13,523 pounds of medication, which equates to approximately 9.3 million doses of medication.
  • As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the U.S. is seeing an increase in opioid usage, with 40 states reporting increases in opioid-related mortality, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).

To further help combat the nation’s opioid crisis, HCA Healthcare proudly collaborates with and provides clinical insight to the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM) Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. HCA Healthcare has committed $750,000 to the Collaborative to support the development of safer pain management protocols and reversal of the opioid crisis.


total pounds of medication collected

HCA Healthcare uses data from more than 32 million annual patient encounters to help continuously improve care. The organization uses the science of “big data” to reduce opioid misuse and transform pain management, with initiatives in surgical, emergency and other care settings, including:

Enhanced Surgical Recovery (ESR)

A multimodal approach to pain management using pre-, intra- and postoperative interventions to optimize outcomes.

ALTernatives to Opioids in the Emergency Room (ALTO in the ER)

A multimodal approach to acute pain management that focuses on alternative medication to hit various pain receptors as a first-line treatment for common painful conditions.

Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS)

Aims to stem increasing rates of opioid-related addiction, misuse, diversion and death by making it more difficult for medication-seekers to doctor-shop and alter prescriptions.

take-back opiod medication event

In partnership with local law enforcement agencies, approximately 9.3 million doses of medication were collected at take-back events throughout the HCA Healthcare enterprise.