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JBSA News
NEWS | April 11, 2013

JBSA-Randolph Exchange pharmacy sponsors drug take-back day

By Robert Goetz Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

Department of Defense cardholders who have unused or expired medications will have an opportunity to get rid of them safely this month.

Scheduled 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 27 at the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Exchange satellite pharmacy, the semiannual Drug Enforcement Agency National Prescription Take-Back Day is a joint effort of the DEA, Randolph Clinic Pharmacy and 902nd Security Forces Squadron.

"Drug take-back day is for any medications people have, whether they're prescription or over the counter," Capt. David Lang, 359th Medical Support Squadron Clinic Pharmacy officer in charge, said. "However, no syringes or other injectable devices will be accepted."

Randolph's drug take-back day has been successful in the past, with the top ranking in Air Education and Training Command and a third-place finish in the DOD at the Sept. 29, 2012, event and a second-place ranking in the Air Force in April 2012.

"Our patient population seems to understand the importance of the event," Lang said.

Nationwide, the Sept. 29 drug take-back initiative resulted in the collection of 488,395 pounds, or 244 tons, of medications at more than 5,200 locations, the DEA reported. Since the take-back events were established in 2010, more than 2 million pounds of medications have been removed from circulation.

Participants in the upcoming drug take-back day should remove labels from their medication containers so that no personally identifiable information is visible, Lang said.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will receive medications during the event and remove solid contents from their containers, he said. They will return empty containers to participants and dispose of containers with liquids.

Security will be provided by 902nd SFS members, and medications will be transported to an approved facility for incineration, the industry standard for safe disposal of unwanted medicines.

Unsafe disposal of unused or expired prescriptions or over-the-counter medications by pouring them down the sink or flushing them in the toilet can cause environmental harm, Lang said. Medications thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused or illegally sold.

In addition, medications kept at home can fall into the wrong hands, according to the DEA. The majority of teenagers who abuse prescription drugs get them from family and friends or from the home medicine cabinet; children and pets may also have access to medications, leading to accidental poisoning.

For more information on prescription drug abuse, visit http://www.dea.org.