"Take Back Your Drugs" Day Aims for Safety
One out of eight high school students is involved in misusing prescription drugs. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 2011, that one student has abused prescription drugs like adderall, xanax, vicodin, etc. without a doctor's consent.
"A report from the partnership of Drug Free America that stated approximately 25,000 teens use prescription drugs each day to get high for the first time," said Clint Williams, director of pharmacy for Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) of Nebraska.
Nebraska's BCBS reports that abused prescription drugs are usually obtained from home medicine cabinets. Wherever they go from there is where the problem begins.
"Expired medications can get into ground water and cause issues with the environment. Animals can go through [garbage], so it's important they are disposed of properly and not just flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash," said Jerry Jensen, pharmacist.
BCBS is hosting a nationwide "Take Back Your Drugs" day to help create a safe environment by clearing homes of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Officials hope to make this day a "difference-making" day.
"We certainly hope that anytime you can take drugs out of the system that aren't used or needed, you're 'gonna' create a safer environment and you don't have to worry about folks getting hurt or unnecessarily harmed," said Williams.
276 tons of pills had been collected earlier this year and officials stress that "no-questions-asked" collections are better than improper disposals.
"We don't really know for sure on a lot of things that could happen. Minimum exposure to drugs can cause them to not work properly. [It can] cause resistance with antibiotics. So, it's very important that we dispose of them properly so we don't run the risks," said Jensen.