SARASOTA- Piles of pills were gathered at HCA Florida Blake Hospital and HCA Florida Sarasota Doctors Hospital.

Hospitals partnered with local law enforcement in hosting the annual “Crush the Crisis” event. Community members were able to drive through and drop off unused or expired medication to be disposed of safely.

The purpose of the event is to help raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and the importance of properly disposing of medications.

“This is something that is a need in the community and HCA wants to do their part to support their community and so we do this annually. Other HCA facilities are also doing it and we’ve been doing it for I think 4 or 5 years now,” said Nursing Director of Emergency Care Services at Sarasota Doctors Hospital, Martina Giquinto.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was almost a 15% increase in deaths from drug overdoses in America between 2020 and 2021.

“Crush the Crisis” invites people to be a part of the solution by safely disposing of medication before it may be obtained and misused.

“I would estimate we’ve probably got greater than 70 pounds of medication collected at this time. With the help of the Manatee County Sheriff's department, we’ll be able to dispose of them in a very safe, appropriate manner,” said Giquinto.

Pounds of pills were collected at each location.

By the end of the event, over 130 pounds were collected at the HCA Florida Sarasota Doctors Hospital alone.