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Harrisburg PA 17120-2117
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email: kboback@pahousegop.com

Boback Works to Designate Oct. 19 as Prescription Lock ‘Em Up Day in PA
10/19/2016
HARRISBURG – In an effort to raise awareness about medication diversion and remind Pennsylvanians to lock up their prescription drugs, Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Wyoming), Rep. Matt Baker (R-Bradford/Tioga/Potter), Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-Chester/Montgomery), Rep. Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne), Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Allegheny) and Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne addressed legislators and members of the public on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Later today, the House is expected to vote on Resolution 1070, which designates Oct. 19 as Lock ‘Em Up Day in Pennsylvania. Boback was inspired to introduce this resolution in response to the state’s devastating opioid epidemic and anecdotes from constituents in which senior citizens have fallen victim to medication diversion, which is theft of prescription drugs by family members, personal care workers and cleaning personnel, to name a few. Many people, especially senior citizens, are not aware of the risks of keeping unlocked prescription drugs in their homes.

A study by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 53 percent of people age 12 and older who abused pain relievers obtained them from a friend or relative. This can be prevented by locking up prescription drugs in the home.

“Far too many seniors are being taken advantage of right in their own homes. I encourage all Pennsylvanians to keep their prescription drugs safe and secure to ensure that the drugs do not fall into the wrong hands,” said Boback.

By securing prescription drugs, Pennsylvanians can take one small step toward preventing drug abuse.

“Substance abuse and addiction does not discriminate,” said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne. “It impacts older Pennsylvanians every day, which is why the Department of Aging is committed to working with all stakeholders to engage in a frank discussion with our seniors about how the majority of people who become addicted to prescription opioids were not engaged in drug-seeking behavior. Rather they were simply taking a medication to relieve pain as prescribed by their physician. We all must do our part to take back those prescription drugs and ensure the proper storage and disposal of opioids and other prescription drugs.”

On Saturday, Oct. 22, the U.S. Department of Justice, working with local law enforcement, will hold a nationwide prescription drug take-back day. This event allows residents to drop off unwanted or expired prescription medications free of charge for safe and convenient disposal. For a list of participating sites, visit https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback.

“Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in Pennsylvania, with many teens and adults abusing medications they obtain through the medicine cabinets of our senior population,” said Baker, chairman of the House Health Committee. “Increasing awareness of this problem and encouraging seniors to keep a close eye on their prescription medications and to take advantage of drug take-back events to safely dispose of prescriptions they no longer use, we can help reduce the amount of prescription drugs ending up in the hands of those who would abuse them.”

“Safety first is always the best policy and our seniors who have, at times, multiple prescriptions, could be put in danger by medicine switching or diversion,” said Hennessey, chairman of the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee. “I encourage all seniors to have medicines put in safe places at all times. Preventing accidents with medicine can save a life.”

Kaufer and Gainey, co-chairs of the PA Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education (PA-HOPE) Caucus, offered remarks.

“At a time when Pennsylvania is in the midst of a public health crisis related to opioid and heroin abuse, it is essential we are doing all we can to keep opioids and prescription drugs out of the wrong hands," said Kaufer.

“Safety begins in the home, and in order to keep families safe, Pennsylvanians must lock up all medications,” said Gainey. “This ensures families stay safe and healthy, and away from prescription drugs that will harm them.”

Boback will be joined by Wyoming County Detective David Ide on Friday, Oct. 21, at a meeting of the Wyoming County Elder Abuse Task Force to discuss the Lock ‘Em Up initiative. For more information, visit RepBoback.com.

Representative Karen Boback
117th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Morgan Dux
717.260.6695
mdux@pahousegop.com
RepBoback.com / Facebook.com/RepBoback / RepBoback.com/PressPhotos
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