FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 22, 2015) -- Army Soldiers, Family members and other beneficiaries may be at risk when unwanted, unneeded, or expired prescription medications are present in the household.

According to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it ranks second behind marijuana as the nation's most prevalent illegal drug problem. More than seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs.

To help address the problem and promote safe and healthy Army communities, Army medical facilities across the United States are once again partnering with the U.S. Army Installation Command and local law enforcement agencies, Sept. 26, in support of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Army medical facilities will provide drop off locations for all active duty, Family members, Army civilians, and retirees to anonymously turn-in unused medications or prescription drugs.

This event is a prime opportunity to raise community awareness and educate military communities on the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and help make military installations a safer place to live and work.

Army medicine commanders will support the National Prescription Take Back Day to help raise public awareness of the Department of Defense's commitment to a drug-free military community. "Army medicine fully supports the prescription drug take back program. In the previous nine take-back events nationwide from 2010-2014, 4,823,251 pounds, or 2,411 tons of drugs, were collected," Col. John Spain, pharmacy consultant for the U.S. Army Medical Command said.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

Studies show that many abused prescription drugs are obtained from Family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away - both potential safety and health hazards.