Columbia, S.C. – In an effort to clear homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is supporting the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day taking place on Saturday, April 30.
“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 Gerald Isreal, RpH, BlueCross’ senior director of Pharmacy Services. “As BlueCross and BlueShield companies nationwide lead efforts to increase patient safety, we commend the DEA’s efforts of providing a safe and easy way for Americans to drop off their no longer needed prescription drugs.”
According to a national survey, more Americans abuse prescription drugs than illegally use cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin. The Partnership for a Drug Free America reports that every day, approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time. Most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.
In addition, it’s advised that usual methods of disposal – flushing drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – pose environmental safety and health hazards. Residue from the drugs can end up at wastewater treatment plants that cannot handle the chemicals, or the chemicals can leach into groundwater. The DEA incinerates the unwanted prescription drugs it collects.
On April 30, the DEA will have hundreds of sites available nationwide for the public to dispose unwanted prescription drugs, including 37 sites across South Carolina, mostly local police and sheriff’s departments. To find a site anywhere in the nation, visit www.dea.gov, click on “Got Drugs?” and enter your ZIP code. Drugs will be accepted from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
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.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina comprises more than 40 companies involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health program and Medicare contracts, and other insurance and employee benefits services.