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BCNEPA Supports DEA’s Efforts to Remove Unused and Expired Prescription Drugs

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
April 10, 2014

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day” is Saturday, April 26

Wilkes-Barre, PA —One in six teenagers have used a prescription drug to get high or change their mood, and 44 percent of teens have at least one friend who abuses prescription drugs, according to a recent report by the Medicine Abuse Project.  The same organization reports that more Americans die each year from drug overdoses than car crashes – a tragic trend that’s increasingly driven by the abuse of prescription pain killers.

In light of these startling statistics, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) is once again supporting the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 26 in an effort to help prevent medication abuse and rid homes of unwanted and unnecessary prescription drugs.

“Unused medications that are kept around the house are an invitation for drug misuse and abuse, especially for young people,” said Dr. Nina Taggart, BCNEPA’s vice president of clinical operations and Chief Medical Officer.  “In addition, physicians prescribe specific medications to treat specific illnesses. Those medications may lose their effectiveness over time and should not be used once they are expired, or to treat other conditions.”

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.  Furthermore, the usual methods of disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – can pose significant safety, health and environmental hazards.

“That’s why BCNEPA is helping to raise awareness of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, because it’s a convenient and responsible way to dispose of expired and unused drugs,” said Dr. Taggart.

The DEA and local law enforcement agencies will have nearly 50 locations available across northeastern and north central Pennsylvania on Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the public to drop off unwanted prescription drugs.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.  For more information and a list of nearby collection sites, visit www.dea.govand click on “Drug Disposal” under the Resource Center. Next, click on the “Got Drugs? – National Take-Back Initiative” banner and enter your zip code after clicking “Locate a collection site near you.” 

The April 26 event will be the eighth DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day; the first event took place in September 2010.  The first seven events collectively removed more than 3.4 million pounds of unwanted and expired medications from circulation.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 545,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations it serves.  For more information, visit