MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is asking Americans to empty medicine cabinets, bedside tables, kitchen drawers and elsewhere of unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs for four hours, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., April 27.
"Collection sites located throughout the country are set up as part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day," said Lanorfeia Holder, deputy director, Navy Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program.
"This is easy, go to the website, type in your zip code and it will show you where to drop off your expired or unnecessary drugs, there are two sites within 13-miles of our base here in Millington," Holder added.
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that sit in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to 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.
In 2012, Navy Drug Screening Labs (NDSL) added two more commonly abused prescription drugs to the standard testing panel for all urinalysis samples submitted for testing. The Navy is concerned about service members who are using prescription drugs without proper authority and potentially becoming addicted.
"We've made great strides to reduce illicit drug use in the Navy, but prescription drug abuse is increasingly becoming a health concern throughout the country," continued Holder. "Leadership is taking positive steps to reduce or prevent the abuse of prescription drugs within the Navy by identifying abusers, educating and communicating with Sailors and their families."
"Sailors that have a urinalysis sample that is identified as positive for controlled substances for which they do not have a valid prescription, may be subject to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and processed for administrative separation from the Navy," Holder said. "It just makes sense to get old prescriptions out of the house. This program gives people an easy way to do that."
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 - pose potential additional safety and health hazards.
In September 2012, Americans turned in 244 tons of prescription drugs at over 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. In five previous "take back" events, DEA and its partners took in over 2 million pounds - more than a thousand tons, of pills.
Old prescription drugs can be brought in to local collection sites located throughout the United States. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. To find a collection site in your area visit www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html or contact the Call Center at 1-800-882-9539.
For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.