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April 25, 2014
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota supports the Drug Enforcement Administration's nationwide prescription "Drug Take-Back Day"

Event promotes awareness about prescription drug abuse and proper disposal

Fargo— In a nationwide effort to clear homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) supporting the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day taking place this Saturday, April 26. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths from prescription drug overdoses have reached epidemic levels in the United States. The national take-back effort seeks to raise awareness and reduce prescription drug abuse in our local communities by offering individuals and families a trouble-free and environmentally friendly way to rid their homes of unwanted prescriptions.

Prescription medications are often found in home medicine cabinets, making it too easy for them to get in the wrong hands. In fact, according to the Partnership at Drugfree.org, more than four in 10 teens who have misused or abused a prescription drug obtained it from their parents' medicine cabinet. Easier access to prescription drugs has contributed to drug overdoses becoming the leading cause of injury death in the U. S. Unfortunately, oftentimes when prescription drugs are disposed of, they are frequently flushed or thrown in the trash, which can pose additional safety risks to individuals and the environment.

This Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., BCBSND and the DEA encourages North Dakotans to help curb prescription drug abuse and misuse by dropping off their unwanted or expired prescriptions at more than 25 locations across North Dakota. Collection sites can be found by visiting the North Dakota's Take Back Program Locations webpage or by visiting www.dea.gov and clicking on "Got Drugs?" Take-Back Day participants will also help protect their local agriculture and water supply as all drugs collected at Take-Back sites will be disposed of properly by local law enforcement or DEA officials.

North Dakota Stats

  • As of March 2014, 6,620 pounds of unwanted and unused medications have been collected and destroyed in North Dakota through the state's year-round prescription drug disposal program
  • In North Dakota, 16 percent of high school students have taken a prescription drug without a doctor's prescription

According to the CDC, nonmedical use of prescription painkillers costs health insurers up to $72.5 billion annually in direct health care costs. BCBSND is committed to reducing the number of individuals who misuse, abuse or overdose from prescription drugs, while making sure that BCBSND members have access to safe and effective treatment. John Vastag, director of Health and Medical Transformation at BCBSND, is the chairman of state's Reducing Pharmaceutical Narcotics in Our Communities Task Force. BCBSND employees Megan Houn, director of Government Relations, and Tom Christensen, manager of Pharmacy Management, also serve on the Task Force.

Collection Sites
For more information about National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and to locate a collection site, North Dakotans can visit North Dakota's Take Back Program Locations webpage  or go to www.dea.gov and click on "Got Drugs?" Take-Back day is free and anonymous.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
BCBSND is a member-owned, not-for-profit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. As North Dakota's largest provider of health care coverage, BCBSND is taking BOLD steps to collaborate with doctors, hospitals, clinics and members to ensure affordable access to quality health care in the state. To learn more about BCBSND, visit www.BCBSND.com.

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