Fort McCoy News April 26, 2013

Take Back Prescription Drugs Day set for April 27

Saturday, April 27 is Take Back Prescription Drugs Day. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its sixth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

Medications can be brought to many local law enforcement agencies or to state law enforcement partners.

In the Monroe County area, unwanted medications can be disposed at the Sparta or Tomah police departments from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The service is free and anonymous, and no questions will be asked.

In September 2012, Americans turned in 244 tons of prescription drugs at more than 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. In its five previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in more than 2 million pounds — more than a thousand tons of pills.

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 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 event, 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. DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies, including local police departments and the DEA, will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

Additional information on Take Back Prescription Day is available at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.
For more information in the Fort McCoy community, contact Gail R. Zuege, Drug Test Technician, at the Fort McCoy Army Substance Abuse Program, building 1344, or by calling 608-388-5955/2441.

(Submitted by the Fort McCoy Army Substance Abuse Program.)