Pa. thinking inside the box on prescription drug disposal

    With the help of a federal grant, the Corbett administration is launching a drug take-back program in Pennsylvania, intended to decrease the chances that old prescriptions will be abused.

    Up to 250 large blue boxes will be placed across the state, most of them at police stations. Those with old prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines can drop them in the box, anonymously, and eliminate the likelihood the leftovers will fall into the wrong hands.

    About a third of all medications that are purchased in the U.S. expire or aren’t used, according to Pennsylvania’s Physician General Dr. Carrie DeLone. And prescriptions are often the gateway for harder, illegal drugs, say law enforcement officials.

    Because federal regulation requires the boxes to be monitored by law enforcement, most of them will be placed at police stations, said Gary Tennis, secretary of the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

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    “It’s a good regulation because when you collect all of these, it’s a little bit of a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, for someone with addiction, or for someone in the business of selling these,” Tennis said.

    Boxes have already been placed in 29 counties.

    The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency received a federal grant of $100,000 for their purchase.

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