Soldiers encouraged to 'take back' old prescriptions
April 21, 2011
Cleaning out the medicine cabinet is not a high priority for most individuals who work steady jobs and have children, said Fort Rucker health officials.
Proper disposal of prescription medications is most often not on the minds of those individuals who come home and relax at night in front of the television, said Jesse Hunt Fort Rucker Army Substance Abuse Program prevention coordinator.
April 30 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Fort Rucker military police will be at the post exchange from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to collect prescription medication from anyone willing to drop it off.
Taking a day to clean out the medicine cabinet and dispose of all old and outdated medicine should be a priority on everyone's list, Hunt said.
"Get rid of the stuff, so it doesn't become an item you could take by mistake," he added "If children are in the house they may want to experiment with whatever is in the medicine cabinet, so there is another good reason for not keeping it around.
"Get them out so someone will not go in there and grab a bottle when they are impaired, such as being sick or sleepy," said Hunt. "They could grab the wrong bottle by mistake or take medicine that is outdated, which could make their condition worse."
Individuals bringing in medication remain anonymous. It can be dropped off, with no information or names will be taken, according to Hunt.
"This is for old and outdated prescription medication," Hunt added. "Medication changes its properties over time and after about a year, you need to clean them out."
Drop off points will also be located at Army Medical Command in Lyster Army Health Clinic beginning April 30. Enterprise police officials host a drop off point at Wal-Mart April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
After medications have been dropped off, Drug Enforcement Agency officials will pick them up and dispose of the medication, said Hunt.
"We are trying to cut back on drug abuse by getting rid of all the old medications," Hunt said. "Keep them like you keep your guns, 'under lock and key.'"
A new policy is also in effect for Soldiers concerning prescription medications. In February, Army policy established a six-month expiration date for the use of controlled substance prescriptions dispensed to Soldiers.
The six-month period begins on the date the last prescription was dispensed by the pharmacy to the Soldier, according to a memorandum to Soldiers from Lt. Col. Shawn I. Parson, Department of Pharmacy chief.
Soldiers need to know the authorized use expiration date for their controlled substance prescriptions and know that a positive urinalysis after this expiration date may result in a "no legitimate use" finding and Uniform Code of Military Justice action, the memorandum continued.
"This policy has to do with the problem we have with drugs and people taking drugs," Hunt said.
Individuals who fear they may have an addiction to prescription or pain medication and are interested in seeking help, a Controlled Substance Awareness Program is available at Fort Rucker.
"We currently have a number of people participating who have been taking pain medication due to long term illnesses or back pain," said Hunt.
The mission of the CSAP is to provide education about safe use of long term controlled substances and offer a multidisciplinary approach to include education, awareness, prevention and risk reduction.
The goals at CSAP are to help someone achieve a more comfortable, productive and rewarding life; minimize the risks of addictive medications; and maximize their benefits for relief. They also can help someone understand chronic pain symptoms, the physical and psychological components of pain management and explore alternative approaches to pain management.
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day closes out Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention month for April. Substance abuse is a national problem but also faces individuals at Fort Rucker. While alcohol may be the leading problem, pain medication is not far behind, says Hunt.
For more information on CSAP, call Donald L. Schuman, clinical director, at 255-7509 or visit CSAP at Lyster Army Health Clinic, Rm. T-100.