National Drug Take-Back Day

by Capt. Alison Ney
42nd Medical Group

4/11/2014 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- People ca rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications during the National Drug Take-Back Day at the base exchange, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., April 26.

The 42nd Security Forces Squadron and the 42nd Medical Group pharmacy will team up with the Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement to give the public an opportunity to prevent drug abuse and theft. People with base access may bring all old, expired, unused and unwanted medications for disposal to the base exchange parking lot. For those who do not have base access, there will be other drop-off locations throughout the community, which can be found on the DEA website at The service is free and anonymous. Participants may feel free to remove the labels on the bottles prior to dropping off medications; however, it is not required.

This is the sixth time Maxwell has participated in the National Take-Back initiative. At last year's event, Maxwell collected 163 pounds of unwanted or expired medications. Citizens turned in 647,211 pounds (324 tons) of medications for safe and proper disposal at 5,683 take-back sites in all 50 states and U.S. territories. This is the eighth National Drug Take-Back Day. Over the course of the history of National Drug Take-Back Day events, the DEA and its state, local and tribal law enforcement and community partners have removed over 3.4 million pounds (1,733 tons) of medication from circulation.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medications 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 a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including home medicine cabinets. 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.

The Air Force Medical Service pharmacy community is responsible for delivering the pharmacy benefit to its patients. In 2013, the Maxwell pharmacy dispensed 338,000 prescriptions. Unfortunately, as a result of changing health conditions, drug allergies or adverse drug reactions, beneficiaries might have only partially used prescriptions in their medicine cabinets. By getting rid of these items at this event, homes and community become safer.

Personnel will be available at the site to answer questions or address concerns. For more information, call the Maxwell pharmacy at 953-9333.