Health & Safety

March 7, 2014

Drug misuse, abuse: No excuse

Senior Airman Cortney Paxton
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. (AFNS) — Airmen have a duty to uphold and must be “fit to fight.”

Maintaining that fit lifestyle means routine health checkups, having a proper diet, exercise and sometimes using medications to combat illness and physical ailments. 

While picking up an over-the-counter medication at the local drug store or being prescribed medication by a healthcare provider are common practices for Airmen looking to get or remain healthy, misuse or abuse of any drug can be a serious problem with serious consequences.

“It’s hard to define medication misuse because some people think of it as medication abuse and they’re not the same thing,” said Capt. Arnaldo Figueroa, the 341st Medical Support Squadron officer in charge of pharmacy services. “Medication misuse is anything from not using the medication that has been prescribed by your healthcare provider the way it was instructed to using a medication prescribed to someone else. This is in comparison to medication abuse where there is a behavioral issue and there may even be a psychological or dependency component to it; normally known as substance use disorder. So while misuse and abuse are not the same thing, both are problems.”

The misuse of prescription medications has drastically increased over the last 10 years and has become one of the most common reasons for emergency room visits and sudden death. In 2008, the Office of National Drug Control Policy found that one-third of all new abusers of prescription drugs in 2006 were 12 to 17 years of age. This data underscores the importance of proactively addressing drug misuse to prevent potential abuse, additional cost to healthcare and the burden that it may cause to society and military members. 

“It’s important that unused drugs are being disposed of properly,” Figueroa said. “Leftover medications remaining in cabinets at home could eventually lead to teenagers or children finding them and not knowing or understanding what the repercussions are of taking something that was not prescribed for them and could cause them serious health consequences. That’s why it’s so important.”
Improper drug disposal can also have negative environmental impacts. 

“Proper drug disposal is important in order to keep drugs out of our landfills and water systems,” said police Capt. Bob Armstrong, the Montana Highway Patrol District II. “People just got used to dumping them down toilets and throwing them in the garbage – that’s not the proper way to do it because it effects the environment.”

Additionally drugs improperly disposed of, or not disposed of at all, could fall into the hands of a child, teenager or an individual the drug wasn’t prescribed, to leading to the misuse of the drugs and sometimes adverse consequences.

According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, “Any person … who wrongfully uses, possesses, manufactures, distributes, imports into the customs territory of the United States, exports from the United States or introduces into an installation, vehicle or aircraft used by or under the control of the armed forces a (controlled) substance… shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.” 

This includes the sharing of prescription medications. While misuse of controlled substances could warrant adverse legal consequences, not disposing of or misusing expired prescribed drugs may result in negative consequences as well.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Giving life through the Living Donor Program

  As Airmen, it is our responsibility to help each other, as well as our civilian counterparts from day to day. But what if the need was greater than something as simple as a ride to work? What if it was as great as a kidney donation? Located in Sacramento, Calif., The University of California...
 
 

Spiritual doctors support Airmen

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.  — They don’t work in hospitals, wear lab coats or fix broken bones but they can heal hidden wounds. Some people may refer to them as pastors, while others consider them counselors. But these spiritual doctors are known to the military as chaplains. Chaplains work 24/7 to help members cope...
 
 

Don’t throw a fit — get fit

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — It’s a controversial topic that has been brought up by many Airmen — changing the abdominal circumference standards on the Air Force fitness assessment test. After months of debate, it was decided by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III that the standards will stay the same....
 

 

June is Men’s Health Month

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AFNS) — Each June, a congressional health education program is promoted to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Screenings, health fairs, media appearances and other health education activities are held to raise awareness for male health...
 
 

TRICARE’s breast pump policy updates effective July 1

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — TRICARE’s breast pump policy was recently updated to include coverage of breast pumps and supplies, and breastfeeding counseling. These supplies and services will be retroactively covered as of Dec. 19. To get full details about this important benefit change, as well as an opportunity to ask questions, TRICARE will host a Facebook...
 
 

Drug testing: What’s fact or myth?

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — For those who have donned a military service uniform, most have heard the myths and urban legends that surround random drug testing, with the biggest question being “Is it really random?” With facts received from the 56th Fighter Wing Drug Demand Reduction, this article presents the truth about the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>