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Andersen to participate in National Drug Take Back Day

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Whitney Tucker
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Members of Team Andersen will have the opportunity to dispose of unwanted or unused prescription drugs in a safe and appropriate environment during the third annual National Drug Take Back Initiative Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Andersen will provide two medication drop-off sites for individuals who already have base access. One collection site will be at the entrance of the Base Exchange, and the second collection site will be at the base Commissary.

The initiative is designed to raise awareness and increase education about prescription drug abuse, an issue that often goes unrecognized. According to the Partnership for a Drug Free America approximately, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time every day.

"This program is important for many reasons," said Capt. Rebekah Mooney, 36th Medical Support Squadron officer in charge of pharmacy services. "It helps keep people and pets safe from misusing, abusing or accidently ingesting incorrect or excess medications around the house."

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it is not uncommon for drugs that are flushed down the toilet or washed down the sink to cause harmful contamination. After mingling with rivers and lakes, these pollutants can affect aquatic life and the quality of local water supplies.

"When medications build up around the house it is very common for people to flush them down the toilet," Captain Mooney said. "Because not all of these substances can be completely filtered out, levels of medications have been detected in drinking water throughout the United States. This is a potentially dangerous trend we would like to put a stop to."

According to their website, the Drug Enforcement Agency was extremely successful in removing potentially dangerous prescription drugs and controlled substances from our nation's medicine cabinets during drug take back days conducted in late 2010 and early 2011. There were approximately 4,000 state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the nation that participated in the event, collecting more than 309 tons of pills in all.

"I encourage everybody to gather up all their unwanted, excess prescription medication, OTC medication, vitamins or supplements and drop them off at one of the two collection sites," Captain Mooney said. "This is a chance to get rid of any and all medications with 100 percent amnesty."

Prescription and over the counter solid dosage medications such as tablets and capsules will be accepted. However, intra-venous solutions, injectables and needles will not be accepted; illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.

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