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Clean the cabinet: Event provides safe, convenient disposal of unwanted, unused prescription drugs

Published: April 21, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 21, 2016) -- Prescription medication can be lethal in the wrong hands, but Soldiers, family members, civilian employees and retirees can soon clear their cabinets of unused or unwanted medications.

U.S. Army Installation Management Command will host National Prescription Drug Take Back Day April 30 that will allow Fort Rucker Army Substance Abuse Program officials to provide a safe and convenient drop-off point at the post exchange in front of the barbershop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Proper disposal of expired and unused medication is important to prevent medications from falling into the wrong hands, especially young children who are unaware of the danger,” Saundra K. Poole, ASAP Risk Reduction Program Coordinator, said.

At past National Prescription Take Back Day events, IMCOM garrisons have collected over 702,000 pounds of unwanted, unused prescription drugs, according to Poole.

“There are several benefits to disposing of expired and unused medication – first is safety,” she said. “Proper disposal can also prevent accidental use, keep the medication out of the hands of children and, most of all, prevent accidental overdose.”

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, more than 3,800 federal, state and local counterparts took in more than 702,365 pounds of unused, expired or unwanted drugs at more than 5,000 collection sites across the United States during the 2015 national initiative. This was the tenth NTBI event since September 2010. Cumulatively, these events have collected 5,525,021 pounds of drugs.

The event has been an initiative of the DEA since 2010.  It encourages American citizens to turn in unused or expired prescribed medications at designated locations for proper disposal.

Poole said individuals need only bring the medications they wish to discard, but no syringes or illegal substance will be accepted.

“We are only there to collect prescription and over-the-counter medication that are no longer needed or have expired,” she said. “There will be no questions asked of those participating. This event is not to try to catch anyone. We only wish to provide an opportunity for those who want to dispose of their unwanted or expired drugs.”

According to Poole, some precautions should be taken before disposing of prescription medications at home.

“It is important that labels are removed from the medication bottles prior to disposal to protect each person’s identification and personal identifying information,” she said.

If community members miss the opportunity to visit the drop-off event April 30, Poole said disposal is available daily.

“There is a daily drop-off box located in the Lyster Army Health Clinic Pharmacy area, for those who have medication to dispose of after the Drug Take Back event,” she said.

For more information, call 255-7509.

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