Unused and Expired Prescription Drugs Pose Safety Threats

IBC Supports the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

PHILADELPHIA, April 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In a nationwide effort to clear homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, Independence Blue Cross is supporting the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day taking place on Saturday, April 30.

"At IBC, we focus on enhancing the health and wellness of the Philadelphia region, and so we are proud to be an advocate for responsible use and disposal of all prescription medicines once they are no longer in use," said Dr. Richard Snyder, IBC's chief medical officer. "National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day helps raise awareness of the serious dangers of improper drug use and disposal, and it also benefits the safety of our environment, which will have positive effects on the health of our community as a whole."

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, research indicates that usual methods of disposing unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – pose potential safety and health hazards.

This year on April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the DEA will offer hundreds of locations across the Philadelphia region available for the public to dispose unwanted prescription drugs.  The service is free and anonymous; no questions asked.  For more information and to find the collection site nearest 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. This year's collection numbers are expected to exceed the 2010 figures.

"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 get 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."

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.3 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

SOURCE Independence Blue Cross