By Gerald Mather, U.S. Army Installation Management CommandMarch 26, 2012
SAN ANTONIO (March 26, 2012) -- The culprit behind America's second leading cause of death isn't the result of too many cigarettes or driving recklessly. It's sitting in your bathroom cabinet, kitchen or bedside table, and you might use it every day.
Abuse of prescription drugs, whether codeine from your last root canal or vicodin for persistent back pain, stands as the second leading cause of accidental death in America. It ranks second behind marijuana as the nation's most prevalent illegal drug problem, and more than seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
To help address the problem and foster safe and healthy Army communities, Army installations across the United States are once again partnering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and state and local law enforcement agencies on April 28, 2012, in support of the fourth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
Military installations will provide drop-off locations for all active duty, family members, civilian employees and retirees to anonymously turn in medications or prescription drugs.
According to coordinators, 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.
IMCOM garrison commanders will support the fourth National Prescription Take Back Day to help raise public awareness of DOD's commitment to a drug-free military community. Linda Martinez, Army Substance Abuse Program for IMCOM headquarters, said, "during the most recent National Drug Take-Back Day, Oct. 29, 2011, 27 installations participated in the IMCOM's second National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. IMCOM collected and disposed of more than 2,000 pounds of unwanted, expired and unused prescription drugs."
Throughout the United States approximately 4,000 state and local law enforcement agencies also participated in the previous two National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days. The American public has turned in more than 489.5 tons of pills and medication during the previous three combined events.
Garrisons' Army Substance Abuse Program offices will serve as the installation points of contact, and will coordinate with their local DEA POCs for the proper procedures of medication handling and disposal. The collection points will be in areas of high visibility to the military community. Installations will have certified law enforcement personnel (Military Police / Department of the Army Civilian Police) physically present at the drop off locations for the duration of National Prescription Take Back Day activities, per DEA protocols.
For more information about the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, or to find a drop-off location, visit the DEA Web site at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html or contact your local Army Substance Abuse Program representative.