National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday, April 28, is your opportunity to dispose of unused prescription drugs in a safe and responsible manner.
“There are certain drugs that are dangerous and we would prefer not get into the hands of someone else,” said Dr. Debra Esser, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska chief medical officer. “Narcotics medications, opioids and anti-depressants should be disposed of in a very safe way if you are no longer on that medication.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska encourages participation in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and has supported the event since its launch in 2010. Nationwide, more than 9 million pounds of medicine has been turned in by the public during that time.
Safe disposal of unused prescription drugs is especially critical now, considering America’s current opioid epidemic. Fortunately, in Nebraska, reports of opioid addiction are lower. Still, Dr. Esser says we must continue to make Nebraskans aware and educate them on the dangers of opioid misuse.
We have joined other Blue plans across the country in adopting new Centers for Disease Control guidelines that support not prescribing opioids as first or second lines of pain therapy in most clinical situations.
Removing prescription drugs from medicine cabinets is another essential part of limiting access to opioids. Studies reveal most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends.
“Our younger population, teenagers, are experimenting,” Esser said. “They will get these medications and sometimes even combine medications together. That could have serious side effects that could depress respiration and slow heart rate to the point where we could have an accidental overdose.”
Law enforcement and pharmacies will collect unused drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Find your nearest site.