Franconia installations plan Nov. 14 drug take back
November 6, 2012
VILSECK, Germany -- Installations across the Franconia Military Community will have a Prescription Drug Take-Back Day at pharmacies in Bamberg, Illesheim, Katterbach and Schweinfurt from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 14.
The event highlights efforts to turn in unwanted and unused prescription, so the pharmaceutical drug can be disposed of properly rather than flushed down the toilet, which is prohibited in Germany.
"We prefer people bring the medications in its original package.., but if not, that is ok; we will still take it," said Maj. James Kenisky, Bavaria Medical Department Activity pharmacy chief. "Within BMEDDAC, we take drugs back on a daily basis, but on Nov. 14, we are going to emphasize the importance of turning in your unwanted medications to protect the community and to promote that this service is offered to the community."
All Military Treatment Facility pharmacies in Bavaria take back expired or unused prescription drugs during opening hours throughout the year, Kenisky said. Getting prescriptions out of medicine cabinets and away from children who might abuse the drugs is the most important objective for the Take Back program.
By helping to properly dispose of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines, people are helping to make the community safer, he said.
The Partnership for a Drug Free America reports that approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time every day. Studies show a majority of prescription drug abusers obtain these drugs from family, friends, and the home medicine cabinet.
Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications are also leading substances used in suicide, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Take Back program in Europe is different from the one in the states because the program in the United States is a Drug Enforcement Agency program.
"Once a year, they really promote this," Kenisky said.
According to the DEA, Americans who participated in the DEA's third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Oct. 29, 2011, turned in more than 377,086 pounds of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,327 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
"The amount of prescription drugs by the American public during the past three Take-Back Day events speaks volumes about the need to develop a convenient way to rid homes of unwanted or expired prescription drugs," said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.
The DEA is having its fifth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, but military community members living in Germany have the option available to them year-round.
Because there is no DEA outside the U.S., the Take Back program is manage by the MTF pharmacies. Take back programs in Germany are common at pharmacies.
People who turn in medications do not have to do any paperwork, but the pharmacist is not that lucky, Kenisky said. Pharmacists have to fill out paperwork for accountability purposed and the person turning in the medication needs to sign the form the pharmacist prepares.
"It is all done when they get to the pharmacy," Kenisky said.
Military community members are encouraged to take advantage of the Take Back program at the pharmacy in their military health clinic, he said.