FORT BELVOIR, Va. - Did you know that what you do with your old prescription medication directly affects everyone'

I was startled to hear one gentlemanAca,!a,,cs response was to just flush them down the toilet.

Wrong answer. Although the water treatment facility does a great job to purify our water, trace amounts of prescription medication still have the potential to get in our water supply.

There is great potential for prescription drug abuse, as well, when these medications are not properly disposed. More than 7 million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health AdministrationAca,!a,,cs National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Each day, approximately, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from Family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.

The first National Prescription Drug Take Back Day initiated by the Drug Enforcement Administration was Sept. 25. The DEA encouraged American citizens to turn in unused or expired prescribed medication for proper disposal. This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.

The eventAca,!a,,cs purpose was to provide a venue for people who wanted to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs. This effort was a huge success in removing potentially dangerous prescription drugs, particularly controlled substances, from our nationAca,!a,,cs medicine cabinets. About 3,000 state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the nation participated in the event. The American public turned in more than 121 tons of pills during the first event.

Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander asks our community to show its support for this worthwhile program and raise public awareness of DoDAca,!a,,cs commitment to a drug-free military community and support the Public Health Model, by dropping of expired medication(s).

National Prescription Take Back Day on Belvoir is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the main post exchange main entrance near the food court.

Fort BelvoirAca,!a,,cs DES will have a uniformed and armed military or civilian law enforcement officer in charge of the drop box.

According to William Oglesby, Fort BelvoirAca,!a,,cs Garrison Alcohol and Drug Control Officer, the program supports raising public awareness of DoDAca,!a,,cs commitment to a drug-free military community and falls in the line of IInstallation Management CommandAca,!a,,cs Line of Effort 1 - Soldier, Family and Civilian Readiness; and LOE 2 - Soldier, Family and Civilian Well-Being.

Aca,!A"The take-back day allows people to prevent pill abuse and theft, by getting rid of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs from their homes,Aca,!A? Oglesby said. Aca,!A"The program is free and anonymous and offers complete amnesty to people about whatAca,!a,,cs been in their medicine chests. WeAca,!a,,cre hoping that, instead of hearing of a tragedy about a 15-year-old being curious and taking old medication intended for someone else, that people realize what a danger it is to have this in their homes and turn in what they have.Aca,!A?

Aca,!A"We also know there are a number of retirees with very old, expired prescription medication they donAca,!a,,ct know what to do with,Aca,!A? he said.

According to the DEA, in September, Americans turned in more than 242,000 pounds Aca,!"121 tons Aca,!" of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by more than 3,000 of the DEAAca,!a,,cs state and local law enforcement partners. The agency hopes to collect even more this spring by opening the event to long-term care facilities.

More Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined. According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

People can find a nearby collection site by visiting, clicking on Aca,!A"Got Drugs'Aca,!A? and entering their ZIP code.

Information is available from William Oglesby, 703-805-1083.

EditorAca,!a,,cs note: The DEA contributed to this story.