; Unused And Expired Prescription Drugs Pose Safety Threat
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Press Release

Unused And Expired Prescription Drugs Pose Safety Threat

April 28, 2011

CHICAGO – In a nationwide effort to clear homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is supporting the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day taking place on Saturday, April 30.

“Many do not know that prescription drug abuse is an epidemic.  Unused prescription medicines that remain in homes can be misused or abused if they end up in the wrong hands of children, family or friends,” said Allan Korn, M.D., BCBSA senior vice president and chief medical officer.  “BCBSA and Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies nationwide are leading efforts to increase patient safety and make it a healthcare priority and we commend the DEA’s efforts of providing a safe and easy way for Americans to drop off their unnecessary prescription drugs.”

According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined.  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, including the home medicine cabinet.  In addition, it’s advised that usual methods of disposing unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – both pose potential safety and environmental health hazards.

This year on April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time, the DEA will have more than 5,100 locations across the U.S. available for the public to dispose 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 “Got Drugs?” and enter your zip code.

During its inaugural National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in September 2010, the DEA collected more than 121 tons of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 collection sites across the country.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.