By: Anthony Matrisciano
April 16, 2012
Unused and Expired Prescription Drugs Pose Safety Threat
April 16,2012, Wilkes-Barre, PA —As part of a nationwide effort to prevent medication abuse and rid homes of unwanted and unnecessary prescription drugs, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) is once again supporting the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, taking place on Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Taking medications after they expire is ineffective and may even be dangerous,” said Dr. Nina Taggart, vice president of Clinical Operations for BCNEPA. “Over time, the chemical makeup and potency of drugs can change, posing a health and safety risk. Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is helping to raise awareness about Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day because it is a convenient and responsible way to dispose of expired and unused drugs.”
The DEA and local law enforcement are expected to have more than 25 locations across northeastern and north central Pennsylvania available on Saturday, April 28, for the public to drop off unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. For more information and to find a collection site near you, visit www.dea.gov, click on the “Got Drugs?” banner and enter your zip code.
More than seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2010 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. And the Partnership for a Drug Free America reports that each day, approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. A study by the Journal of Pediatrics reports a 30 percent increase in emergency room visits for children under age five due to medication poisoning for the period 2001 to 2008. In addition, it’s advised that the usual methods of disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – pose safety, health and environmental hazards.
DEA previously conducted National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days in September of 2010 and in April and October of 2011. Nationwide, nearly 1,000,000 pounds of unwanted and expired medications have been removed from circulation through these three previous events.
About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, 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 nearly 555,000 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 we serve.