HONOLULU, April 22, 2011 -- Prescription drugs that languish in your home medicine cabinet can be highly at risk for misuse and abuse.

To deter mishandling and support a drug-free community, National Prescription Take Back Day, April 30, 2011, will provide the opportunity for anyone to turn in unused or expired prescriptions for proper disposal.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration initiated National Prescription Take Back Day, Sept. 24, 2010. Last year, the American public turned in more than 121 tons of pills during the inaugural collection, held at nearly 4,100 sites across the country.

As in past years, the Department of Defense is helping to raise awareness and to maintain combat readiness by hosting collection sites at numerous locations in the continental U.S., Hawaii and Alaska.

Locally, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, part of Installation Management Command, and the Pacific Regional Medical Command, are supporting National Prescription Take Back Day. Along with USAG-HI's Army Substance Abuse Program, the military community - Soldiers, family members and civilians - can dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs at two locations, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The locations are:

-- Schofield Barracks' Main Pharmacy, Building 676
-- Tripler Army Medical Center's Main Pharmacy, 4th floor, Mountainside

The off-post population can also participate in National Prescription Take Back Day at four locations on Oahu:

-- Mililani Town Center (bandstand area), 95-1249 Meheula Pkwy., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
-- Federal Building, 300 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
-- Kahala Mall (Kilauea Avenue end of mall), 4211 Waialae Ave., Honolulu, 8 a.m.-noon
-- Windward Mall (center court area), 46-056 Kam. Hwy, Kaneohe, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Participation in National Prescription Day is free and anonymous. No questions or requests for identification will be made, and law enforcement personnel will make no effort to count, inventory or log medications.

Participants can freely dispose of expired, unwanted and unused tablets, capsules and all other solid dosage pills. Liquid products, such as cough syrup, should remain in their sealed, original container, and the depositor should ensure that caps are tightly sealed on liquid medications to prevent leakage.

No intravenous solutions, injectibles or syringes will be accepted due to potential hazard posed by blood-borne pathogens. Also, illegal substances, such as marijuana or methamphetamine, are not a part of this initiative. Illegal drugs should not be placed in collection containers.

Participants may dispose of medications in their original container or by removing medications from containers and disposing of items directly into disposal boxes. If an original container is submitted, individual participants should remove any identifying information from prescription labels.

Participants must retain possession of their own medication during the surrender process. Law enforcement personnel will not handle the medications at any time, but they will remain at disposal locations to keep custody of and safeguard the pharmaceutical products.

At the conclusion of National Prescription Take Back Day, law enforcement personnel will seal drug disposal boxes, and each box will be turned over to the DEA.


Prescriptions provided by a doctor can be just as dangerous as taking illegal drugs.

More than 7 million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, and they are the second leading cause of accidental death.

Pain killers now rank second, only behind marijuana, as the nation's most prevalent illegal drug problem.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, abuse of prescription drugs has become increasingly prevalent among teens and young adults. Each day, approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time.

For more information about National Prescription Take Back Day, visit www.justice.gov/dea/index.htm.


Generally, flushing is not recommended for the vast majority of medicines. Unused or expired medicines can be disposed of safely in the household trash by these methods:

Mix them in with something that will hide the medicine or make it unappealing, such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds.

Place the mixture in a container, such as a sealed plastic bag.

Throw the container in your household trash.

The FDA recommends flushing as a means of disposal for a limited number of medications to prevent danger to people and pets in the home. Find a list of these medications at www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/default.htm.