Air Force

April 13, 2012

Air Force expands drug testing to include abused prescription drugs


Air Force Week kicks off in New York City
(U.S. Air Force graphic/Corey Parrish)

WASHINGTON — The Air Force and other military services will expand their drug testing to include testing for commonly abused prescription drugs beginning May 1.

On Jan. 31, the secretary of defense gave a 90-day advance notice of the drug testing expansion which aims to counter the nation’s growing epidemic and encourage those abusing prescription medications to seek treatment before official testing begins.

“Abuse of prescription drugs is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States, and unfortunately, this trend is reflected in the military services,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas Travis, deputy Air Force surgeon general. “While pain medications are highly effective in alleviating suffering from injuries, they are dangerous and potentially addictive when used outside medical supervision.”

Taking controlled medications in a manner other than how they were prescribed poses a risk to the person’s health and safety and can put others at risk as well.

Prescription medications should be taken only for the purposes for which they were prescribed and at the dose and frequency prescribed. Additionally, Airmen are reminded never to take a medication prescribed to someone else.

“Members who need help discontinuing use of these drugs are encouraged to seek care at a military treatment facility immediately,” Travis said.

The policy being addressed is not new to Air Force personnel. In accordance with Air Force guidance and existing law, the knowing use of any prescription or over-the-counter medications in a manner contrary to their intended medical purpose or in excess of the prescribed dosage may have negative health consequences and may also violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

AFI 44-121, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program provides limited protection under certain circumstances for voluntary disclosure of prior drug use or possession to unit commanders, first sergeants, a substance abuse evaluator or a military medical professional. Once an Airman has been ordered to provide a urine sample as part of the drug testing program, any disclosure is not considered to be voluntary.

“There are no changes to procedures that will directly affect drug testing collection sites and military members who are selected for testing,” said Lt. Col. Mark Oordt, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Drug Demand Reduction chief. “The changes will occur at the drug testing labs where the standard panel of substances each specimen is tested for will be expanded.”

The scope of the problem

The Centers for Disease Control report 52 million Americans age 12 and older had used prescription meds nonmedically in 2009, with 7,000,000 Americans having done so routinely.

Prescription medications appear to be replacing marijuana as the top “gateway drug.” Six of the top 10 abused substances among high school seniors are prescription drugs; 20 percent of high school students have taken prescription medications without a prescription.

Military data also suggests increases in prescription drug misuse. The Defense Department health behaviors survey shows self reported misuse of pain meds for nonmedical purposes by service members (all services) increased from 2 percent in 2002 to 7 percent in 2005 to 17 percent in 2008.

How to dispose of prescription drugs

“Patients are encouraged to dispose of prescribed medications once they are no longer needed for their prescribed purpose,” Oordt said. “The Drug Enforcement Administration prohibits pharmacies from taking back controlled substances. However, the services collaborate with law enforcement agencies in the DEA drug take-back days which occur several times each year in most communities.”

For more information on drug take back days visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/ 

The Food and Drug Administration also offers guidance on disposal of prescription drugs before consumers throw them in the garbage.

Take the medication out of the original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as coffee grounds or kitty litter. The medication will be less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through trash.

Put medications in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.




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


 
 

 
Samuel Price

RMO, stakeholders keep eye on sky

Samuel Price The road used to get onto the Barry M. Goldwater Range lies beneath the running water July 9, 2014, that resulted from monsoon rains. With data from the additional recently installed weather stations, personnel wil...
 
 

Resource management — Doing more with less

Since I joined the Air Force in 1992, our manpower and resources have been gradually reduced with no obvious change to the mission we support. While this has been labeled “doing more with less,” I don’t believe we’re truly doing any more than we did when I entered the military 22 years ago. We seem...
 
 

Situational awareness

Throughout my career, the importance of situational awareness has been driven into my head. This became exceedingly clear to me when I landed in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. It was March 17, 2003, about 48 hours until Operation Iraqi Freedom kicked off. We were busy building tents, making bunkers and preparing to execute the mission. Doing...
 

 

Air Force OSI agents prevent online exploitation of children

QUANTICO, Va. — Child sex crimes are not unique to any particular base but are a perpetual problem across the Air Force and society. Online exploitation of children continues to be a problem and is routinely investigated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. As part of this effort, AFOSI field units have partnered...
 
 

News Briefs February 27, 2015

MDG appointment line upgrade Patients calling the 56th Medical Group at 623-856-2273 Wednesday afternoon to schedule an appointment may reach a busy signal and may have to call back if all booking agents are on the line with other callers. The queue function allowing patients to wait on hold for the next available booking agent...
 
 

Airmen get T-bolts to give blood, win award

Tech. Sgt. Alisa Frisch, 56th Medical Group unit training manager, and Capt. Sharlott Uriarte, 56th Medical Support Squadron, were among the top 3 percent of award-winning blood drive coordinators recently honored by United Blood Services, earning a Hero Award for providing the largest impact on the blood supply. Of the 1,080 organizations that sponsored blood...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin