11:03 AM

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

On Saturday, April 30, 2016 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will host its annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, allowing Valley residents to prevent pill abuse and theft by safely disposing of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. A natural extension to “spring cleaning,” Drug Take-Back Day is a bold reminder to clean out the medicine cabinet annually.

Leftover prescription drugs can be harmful in a variety of ways. In addition to being a threat to water resources when disposed of improperly, these unneeded drugs can be abused. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Partnership for a Drug Free America estimates that every day, about 2,500 teens get high for the first time using prescription drugs.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) urges residents to participate in the National Drug Take-Back Day and Chris Hogan, vice president of pharmacy management at BCBSAZ, offers information on why you should participate and tips on how to safely dispose of medicines if you’re unable to make a drop-off.

How to properly dispose of unneeded medicine:


  • Hide drugs in a sealable bag with something unsavory, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter and throw them away in the garbage. This prevents drug-seekers from finding and abusing the medication.
  • Check with your local pharmacy, as many have drug disposal programs offer a container that can be dropped off and mailed to a proper disposal location.


  • Put any medications down the sink or flush them down the toilet. Disposing of drugs this way creates a hazard as it mixes with community water resources
  • Don’t hold onto expired drugs, even if you think you’ll need them one day. Expired prescriptions will not have the same medical effect of your body and can cause illness.

There are more than 35 Valley drop-off locations that will be accepting prescriptions drugs on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., locations can be found on the DEA Diversion website. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked, so clean out those cabinets and rid your house of the unwanted, expired or unused medications.


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) is committed to helping Arizonans get healthier faster and stay healthier longer. With a focus on connecting people with the care they need, BCBSAZ offers health insurance and related services to nearly 1.5 million customers.


BCBSAZ, a not-for-profit company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The company employs nearly 1,500 people in its Phoenix, Chandler, Flagstaff and Tucson offices.


Through advanced clinical programs and community outreach, BCBSAZ is moving health forward. To learn more, visit