Governor Tom Corbett today launched another piece of his Healthy Pennsylvania plan, a permanent statewide drug take-back program that will provide up to 250 secure medicine return boxes throughout Pennsylvania.
The new MedReturn boxes, installed in 29 Pennsylvania counties, allow individuals to dispose of unused and expired prescription and over-the-counter medication safely and anonymously.
"My Healthy Pennsylvania Drug Take-Back initiative is an important step in alleviating Pennsylvania's public health and safety concerns regarding prescription drug abuse and misuse, especially among our youth who don't have to look further than their own family's medicine cabinet," Governor Corbett said.
Governor Corbett's Healthy Pennsylvania Drug Take-Back initiative is a partnership between the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA), the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).
"Abuse of prescription drugs is a serious problem that can lead to addiction, overdose and death," said DDAP Secretary Gary Tennis. "I want to thank Governor Corbett for his leadership on this issue and for making the drug take-back program a priority under his Healthy Pennsylvania plan."
Pennsylvania, along with the rest of the nation, is experiencing an increase in the misuse and abuse of prescription medications, especially in school-aged youth. A 2010 national survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in five high school students have abused prescription drugs.
"Unfortunately, district attorneys around Pennsylvania have seen the negative effects of prescription drug abuse," said PDAA President and Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed. "Safe and anonymous disposal of prescription drugs is an important way that state, law enforcement and individuals can all participate in a partnership focused on prevention."
Today's event highlighted the MedReturn box recently installed in the East Wing entrance to the state Capitol.
Medications accepted in the Capitol box include:
Prescriptions, prescription patches, prescription medications, prescription ointments, over the counter medications, vitamins, samples, and pet medications.
Medications not accepted in the Capitol box include:
Needles, inhalers, aerosol cans, and thermometers.
Individuals with unused or unwanted medications can bring them to the Capitol East Wing, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Pennsylvania Capitol Police Investigative Section will check, weigh and destroy the contents monthly.
PCCD received a federal grant of $100,000 for the boxes. Local district attorney offices throughout the state could apply for a portion of the funding by providing a plan for the installation of the MedReturn boxes and disposal of the medications.