National prescription turn-in day set for Saturday, Sept. 29

| September 21, 2012 | 0 Comments

Sarah Pacheco
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

prescription pills

prescription pills

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, has scheduled a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sept. 29, here, and at other locations on Oahu and around the state.

Officials said this is a great opportunity for those who missed previous events or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted or unused prescription drugs to safely dispose of those medications.

“Pharmacies are not permitted by law to take back any medication or prescription drugs at their counters,” said Brent Oto, instructor, Army Substance Abuse Program, here.

“If these meds are dumped in the landfill, rain or storms have been known to wash these meds into the oceans or onto the shores of beaches,” Oto said, adding, “unfortunately, we have (also) seen people who dumpster-dive for drugs in the trash.”

According to the DEA, the most-recent National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, held April 28, was an overwhelming success, as citizens turned in a record-breaking 552,161 pounds (or 276 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for proper disposal at the 5,659 take-back sites available in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

Locally, Oto said more than 2,000 pounds of medications were collected statewide during the April initiative.

To date, the DEA and its state, local and tribal law enforcement and community partners have removed more than 1.5 million pounds (774 tons) of medication from circulation.

“We are pleased at the response of the American people once again, and we thank them for participating and contributing to the battle against prescription drug abuse,” said Michele Leonhart, administrator, DEA, in a news release.

Leonhart said 4,268 agencies participated with DEA nationwide in April’s take-back event, including all branches of military service, as well as local substance abuse programs.

Among those involved in Hawaii are the state Narcotics Enforcement Division, Army Department of Defense Police, Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter Provost Marshal offices, and Tripler and Schofield pharmacies.

“These events are only made possible through the dedicated work and commitment of our state, federal, local and tribal partners, and DEA thanks each and every one of them for their efforts on behalf of the American people,” Leonhart said.

“While a uniform system for prescription drug disposal is being finalized, we will continue to sponsor these important take-back opportunities as a service to our communities,” Leonhart continued. “Our take-back events highlight the problems related to prescription drug abuse and give our citizens an opportunity to contribute to the solution.”

RX Drop-off Locations on Oahu

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is scheduled 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sept. 29, at various sites on Oahu. Bring all unwanted, unused or expired medications in a sealed plastic bag for safe, anonymous disposal to any of these locations:
•Schofield Barracks PX, main lobby, near flower shop;
•Navy Exchange, main lobby, near escalator;
•Marine Corps Exchange, in front;
•Kapolei Police Station, parking lot;
•Mililani Town Center, bandstand area;
•Windward Mall, center court area; or the
•State of Hawaii State Capitol.

The service is also offered at the following neighbor island locations:

•Big Island of Hawaii’s National Guard Aviation Facility, the Hawaii County Police Department or the Kona Police Station (parking lot);
•Maui County Police Department (parking lot); or
•Kauai Police Department (parking lot).

Prescription drug abuse on the rise, fosters prevention strategies

taking pills

taking pills

Simply put, good medicines paired with bad behavior can cause very negative outcomes.

Just a brief look at history reveals a list of talent lost to the effects of prescription drug abuse: Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon, Elvis Presley and, more recently, Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson.

With each new medicine discovered to cure disease and relieve pain, there also are individuals who misuse and abuse the prescription drug to the point where it can be just as dangerous as street drugs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of deaths from prescription narcotics increased fourfold during the past 10 years, classifying prescription drug abuse as an epidemic.

Also, the Office of National Drug Control Policy found that prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, with prescription painkillers now causing more drug overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.

In 2011, the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan was created to expand upon the Obama Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy. The plan includes education for both public and health care providers:
•to increase awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse;
•to enhance and increase use of prescription drug monitoring programs;
•to develop consumer-friendly and environmentally-responsible prescription drug disposal programs; and
•to support law enforcement agencies in expanding their efforts to shut down “pill mills” and stop “doctor shoppers” who contribute to prescription drug trafficking.

More information about prescription drug abuse, initiatives and strategies — specifically those for military families and veterans — can be found online. For example, see  www.onthewagon.org/prescription-drug-abuse/.

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Category: Community, Community Relations, Health, Safety

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