By Julia LeDoux, Pentagram Staff WriterNovember 1, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Groceries were not the only items being unloaded Oct. 25 at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall commissary.
The military food store served as a local drop-off location for National Drug Take-Back Initiative day.
"I really worry about the narcotic ones," said Maggie Maguire as she tossed her unwanted prescription drugs into a cardboard box located near the store's entrance. "I don't want them around."
Sponsored by the installation's Army Substance Abuse Program office and other agencies, the event provides an opportunity for people to safely dispose of their unwanted or unused prescription drugs in a safe and environmentally friendly manner, said JBM-HH Army Substance Abuse Program Coordinator George Suber.
"Law enforcement is going to transport [what we collect] down to the DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency] substation at [Reagan]National Airport," he continued. "They actually take it back to Virginia State Police. They take it out to an undisclosed area and burn all of this up."
JBM-HH partnered with the National Guard Bureau in collecting the unwanted items last week, added Suber.
Calling the day a really big help, Maguire recalled "a time when people were flushing them [unwanted or unused prescription drugs] down the toilet. But then the streams were getting polluted with the various drugs. This way, they're prescriptions, you turn them in."
Army Sgt. Stuart Arnett, noncommissioned officer in charge at the Andrew Rader U.S. Army Health Clinic, said the joint base hosts a prescription drug take-back day every six months.
"The only things we don't take back are injectables," he said.
Suber and Arnett manned the drop-off location for four hours, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Within the first 30 minutes of being open for business, 27 people had dropped off unwanted prescription drugs.
According to Suber, 95 participants had dropped off a total of 222 pounds of unwanted or unused drugs at the event, filling 10 bags. The National Guard location tallied approximately 50 participants and 72.8 pounds of prescription drugs.