CHICAGO, April 25, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and its member companies are encouraging all Americans to safely dispose of unused and expired prescription medicines as part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies have helped to expand access to safe medication disposal options through partnerships with Walgreens. To date, more than 600 safe medication disposal kiosks at Walgreens locations throughout the country have collected – and safely disposed of – more than 270 tons of unused, unwanted or expired medications.
The kiosks allow for safe disposal of unused medications at select Walgreens pharmacies throughout the year at no cost. The kiosk program was created to aid in the ease and convenience of disposing medications – including opioids and other controlled substances – while helping to reduce the misuse of medications and decrease the rise in overdose deaths.
"Through our partnerships with Walgreens, we are proud to play a role in removing unused prescription drugs from medicine cabinets across the country," said Scott Serota, president and CEO of BCBSA. "We have the unique ability – and responsibility – to encourage BCBS members and all Americans to safely dispose of unused medications."
Proper drug disposal is more important than ever considering America's current opioid epidemic. Twenty-one percent of BCBS commercially insured members filled at least one opioid prescription in 2015, according to a Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report titled, "America's Opioid Epidemic and Its Effect on the Nation's Commercially Insured Population." Data also show BCBS members with an opioid use disorder diagnosis spiked 493 percent over a seven-year study period.
In March, BCBSA's National Council of Physician and Pharmacist Executives announced a systemwide professional standard that opioids should not be prescribed as first or second lines of pain therapy in most clinical situations.
For additional information regarding how BCBSA is addressing drug abuse, please visit www.bcbs.com. To participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, please visit https://takebackday.dea.gov/ to find a drop-off location closest to you.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit BCBS.com. We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog.
SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield Association