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Blue Cross of NEPA supports DEA's efforts to remove unsued drugs

Published April 19. 2013 05:04PM

According to a recent report by the Medicine Abuse Project, one in six teenagers has 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. That 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.

Recognizing 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 27 in an effort to help prevent medication abuse and rid homes of unwanted and unnecessary prescription drugs.

"Taking medications after they expire is ineffective and may even be dangerous," said Dr. Nina Taggart, BCNEPA's vice president of clinical operations and Chief Medical Officer. "In addition, unused medications that are kept around the house may invite prescription drug abuse, so the medicine cabinet is an excellent place to begin your spring cleaning."

The DEA and local law enforcement agencies will have more than 30 locations available across northeastern and north central Pennsylvania on Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the public to drop off unwanted prescription drugs.

Locally drugs can be dropped off at the Summit Hill Police Department, 40 W. Amidon St., Suite 1, Summit Hill.

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

The DEA first conducted National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in September 2010. It held two events in both 2011 and 2012. Nationwide, more than 2,000,000 pounds of unwanted and expired medications were removed from circulation through these five previous events.

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