Health & Safety

March 29, 2012

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day program

Scout Reports
Sgt. Vaughn Larson
Army installations across the United States are once again partnering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and state and local law enforcement agencies, April 28, in support of the fourth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

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 people’s bathroom cabinet, kitchen or bedside table, and people might use it every day.

Abuse of prescription drugs, whether codeine from a person’s 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 Substance Abuse Program officials here encourage people to turn in their prescription drugs on April 28 at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and state and local law enforcement agencies’ fourth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day from 10 a.m. ““ 2 p.m. in the Ace Hardware Parking Lot, 3756 E. Fry Blvd., Sierra Vista. This is the local drop-off location for all active duty, family members, civilian employees, retirees and community members to turn-in medications or prescription drugs. This is an opportunity for Fort Huachuca and local residents to properly dispose of unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs currently hiding in medicine and kitchen cabinets and drawers.

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 and the community a safer place to live and work.

Army garrisons across the country are encouraging military families to be a part of the national campaign to help foster an awareness of the problem and become part of the Army’s and DEA’s prevention efforts to combat drug use.

Kathy Thomson, ASAP training specialist, said: “One of the main reasons [for a program such as this one] is to keep drugs away from children and teens using them for pharm (pharmaceutical) parties.” She also stated that “Turning them in helps prevent adolescents from going into medicine cabinets and taking and selling or using the drugs. What they collect during the [PDTBD] program is just phenomenal,” she said, adding that turn-ins are anonymous.

Thomson also described another reason for the NPDTBD.

“During the turn-in program, people get to give the medications to someone who will dispose of them properly and not harm the environment.

“There are specific ways to dispose of the drugs properly,” Thomson added.

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.

For more information about the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, go to the DEA website, or contact John Moore, prevention coordinator, Fort Huachuca ASAP, 538.1315 or, or Thomson, 538-1402 or

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