National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Monday October 24, 2011

What is it?

The third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Oct. 29, 2011. This event provides a venue to dispose of unused/unwanted and expired prescription drugs. During the first two National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days, the American public turned in more than 309 tons of medication. The U.S. Army is once again partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to support this event.

Why is this important to the Army?

Many medications, particularly prescription painkillers, sit unused and unsecured in medicine cabinets, making them readily available. A 2009 national survey on Drug Use and Health notes most young people who misuse prescription medications obtain them from friends or family. Abuse of prescription medication is the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Prescription drug abuse has other unintended consequences, such as increased prescription medication abuse and diversion of drugs.

The Army is committed to supporting raising public awareness of DOD's efforts to foster safe and drug-free military communities. The Army's previous efforts contributed to the overall DEA National Prescription Take-Back Day program, which netted more than 376,593 pounds (188 tons) of medications at the 5,361 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states.

Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) Garrisons, in coordination with the U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM), will support the National Prescription Take-Back Day, Oct. 29, 2011 and will coordinate with local law enforcement officials to provide an environmentally safe venue for disposal. The Garrisons' Army Substance Abuse Programs (ASAP) offices will serve as the local point of contact.

Installation Provost Marshal Office (PMO), or Directorate of Emergency Services (DES), will provide security at the drop-off locations, as only law enforcement officials can legally collect unwanted prescription drugs at these events. The collection points will be in areas of high visibility to the military community.

What has the Army done?

During the last National Prescription Drug Take Back Day (30 April 2011), 40 garrisons participated with almost 1,200 lbs of drugs turned in. Only CONUS garrisons can participate because this is a DEA event. The Army will place collection sites where people can turn in their unused, unneeded and expired prescription medications. This service is free and anonymous. For more information on the sites, see resources listed below.

Resources:

Army Medical Command
Office of Diversion Control
Army Installation Management Command
Army Installation Management Command news page

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Senior Leaders are Saying

"The military shares the nation's focus and concern with the potential abuse, diversion and incorrect disposal of unused or expired prescription medications. The Army's collaborative effort with the Drug Enforcement Agency's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is an important opportunity for our Soldiers and their families to safely dispose of medications that are currently stored in our homes and barracks. Soldiers and family members should open up their medicine cabinets, look for any expired or unused prescription medications, and properly dispose of them at designated locations at their respective camp, post or station."

- Col. Kevin Galloway, chief of staff, Pain Management Task Force,Army Medical Command.

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