FORT SILL, Okla. (April 18, 2013) -- For the sixth time in the past three years, the Fort Sill Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) will join with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement agencies to sponsor Drug Take-Back Day April 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fort Sill disposal sites are the Main Exchange Food Court (Bldg. 1718 Macomb Road) or the Commissary (Bldg. 1719 Macomb Road). The disposal process is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.

In the past two years, more than 2 million pounds - 1,000 tons - of expired and unused prescription drugs have been collected through this program. ASAP, in conjunction with the DEA, the Oklahoma Drug Enforcement office and Lawton police, collected more than 650 pounds of these medications on the two take-back days held on post in 2012.

Even with those efforts, there are still too many prescription and over-the-counter medications being stolen, diverted or misused by someone other than the patient for which the prescription was written.

According to a 2011 government study, more than 6 million Americans abuse prescription drugs. Of that number, more than 70 percent of people abusing pain medications got them from friends or relatives, often stealing them from family medicine cabinets and night stands. Many of those are young people ages 18 to 24.

Turning in your expired and leftover medications is a first step in reducing the problem of prescription drug abuse. Also, keep all other medications, especially controlled substances, locked away so they cannot be stolen or accidentally taken by young children.

Soldiers are also reminded if they have been taking prescription medications recently, but did not finish the prescription, they should turn in the unused medicine for disposal if the prescription has expired. They should not save those drugs to take at a later time. If they take the drugs six months after the prescription was written and then test positive on a urinalysis test, they will be in violation of AR 600-85, even though the medication was originally prescribed to them.

So bring all unused or expired medications to the take-back locations for proper disposal. Experts also advise that the common methods for disposing of unused medicines - throwing them in the trash or flushing them down the toilet - pose potential safety and environmental health hazards. So don't toss or flush those pills, bring them to the Fort Sill Drug Take-back Day April 25.