Keesler, DEA take back drugs April 26

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Bill Hugel
  • 81st Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron
The 81st Training Wing and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m., April 26.

All are encouraged to bring their medications for disposal to the Keesler Base Exchange main entrance. The service is free and anonymous for all Department of Defense beneficiaries and no questions will be asked. Controlled, non-controlled and over-the-counter medications will be accepted.

Exceptions are syringes, needles, opened vials or anything that may have blood-borne pathogens.

On the last Drug Take Back Day, Keesler AFB collected 319 pounds of medication. According to a DEA news release, last October, Americans turned in 647,211 pounds - 324 tons - of prescription drugs at nearly 5,683 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,114 state and local law-enforcement partners. When added to the collections from DEA's previous five take-back events, more than 3.4 million pounds of prescription medications have been removed from circulation.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines - flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash - both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Four days after the first take-back event in September 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an "ultimate user" of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the attorney general to accept them.

The act also allows the attorney general to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents' controlled substances in certain instances.

The DEA has begun drafting regulations to implement the act, a process that can take as long as 24 months. Until new regulations are in place, local law-enforcement agencies and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

In addition to the DEA take-back programs, the Keesler Pharmacy has a plan in place to accept non-controlled medication throughout the year. For more information, please contact a member of the pharmacy staff.